Khulubuse Zuma: Panama Connection

Khulubuse Zuma, the nephew of President Jacob Zuma, can presumably afford to lose a few million rand on Aurora Empowerment Systems after allegedly making tens of millions from oil concessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The younger Zuma, whose ostentatious lifestyle involves numerous luxury cars, several wives and a taste for expensive whisky and cigars, claimed to own — and was certainly a signatory for — two British Virgin Isles-registered companies, Foxwhelp and Caprikat, which secured oil rights in the DRC in June 2010 that were taken away from Tullow Oil.

It was claimed US$6m was paid for them.

By September 2010, these concessions were reported to have been sold, but Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, said they had been assigned to an entity controlled jointly by Foxwhelp/Caprikat and the DRC government, and the partners intended to develop them.

Foxwhelp and Caprikat were named in the Panama Papers, in connection with a wider US investigation into possible bribery committed by US hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management in its African investments.

The Panama Papers are confidential documents belonging to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that were leaked to the media earlier this year and shed light on people using tax havens for their investments. According to the Panama Papers, Och-Ziff financed the development of the oilfields previously awarded to Foxwhelp and Caprikat, which are described as 100% controlled by Dan Gertler.

Zondwa Gaddafi Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, did not have much of a public profile until he emerged as MD of Aurora.

Two years after Aurora was liquidated, Investec repossessed his luxury black Mercedes-Benz, on which he owed about half a million rand. In 2012 he started another business venture, registering a company called Mandela 95th Birthday to corporatise the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birthdays. Nothing further has been heard about this company.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    AN OIL deal originally fronted by Khulubuse Zuma is being probed by US federal authorities, the latest leak to emerge from the explosive Panama Papers shows.

    This forms part of a wider bribery investigation into Och-Ziff Capital Management, a US hedge fund manager, about its investments in Africa. The US justice department is pushing Och-Ziff to plead criminal guilt, according to the Wall Street Journal. But its lawyers have reportedly argued that it was not criminally liable and are seeking a lesser sanction.

    The Panama Papers have provided the first clear indication that deals involving South Africans formed part of the US authorities’ probe into Och-Ziff’s suspected dodgy dealings.

    In 2010, Mr Zuma was presented as the owner of companies to which Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila awarded oil rights.

    Later in 2010, Och-Ziff financed the development of the oil fields through a $110m loan. The intended owners of the companies were Israeli Dan Gertler and South African businessman Mark Willcox.

    Mr Willcox said he never took up a shareholding.

    The oil field is 100%-controlled by Mr Gertler, who has admitted he and Mr Kabila are friends.

    The Panama Papers contain correspondence made in July and September last year, in which the British Virgin Islands attorney-general ordered law firm Mossack Fonseca to produce all records in respect of Foxwhelp and Caprikat, the companies registered in the British Virgin Island that acquired the oil rights and are controlled by Mr Gertler.

    Under threat of a fine or imprisonment, Mossack Fonseca complied, the documents show.

    The attorney-general’s correspondence indicated that the source of the request was the US probe of Och-Ziff.

    At the time of the oil deal, another of Mr Gertler’s companies was doing business in the Congo in partnership with Africa Management, a firm at which Mr Willcox was CEO.

    Mr Willcox said he had no knowledge of Och-Ziff financing the oil fields and had not been contacted by US authorities.

    The Panama Papers were first leaked to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shared the documents with other journalists.

    In 2010, Mr Zuma signed the contracts for Foxwhelp and Caprikat. He also travelled with Mr Willcox to Kinshasa for talks about the oil field. At the time, Mr Zuma said that his uncle, President Jacob Zuma, played no role.

    Mr Willcox’s lawyer, Rael Gootkin, said his client’s role “was after the allocation of the rights … to utilise his expertise in capital raising and introducing oil majors as partners”.

    In 2014, Och-Ziff disclosed it was being probed by the US justice department and the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible breaches of America’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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