Avatar photo

By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


How Jacob Zuma is funding his private prosecution against Downer and Maughan

Zuma and Liebenberg: The unlikely friendship between a corruption tainted ex-president and a controversial diamond dealer.


Former President Jacob Zuma is seemingly never short of generous benefactors.

The political cat with umpteen lives seems to still have friends in places. (The jury is still out on whether those friends are in high or low places).

But, nevertheless, whenever Msholozi needs a cash injection, he always manages to find a friendly neighbourhood millionaire ready for action with a helpful wire transfer.

Despite several online sources placing Zuma’s net worth at around R340 million, Bronkhorstspruit-based diamond dealer Louis Liebenberg is financially backing the former president’s private prosecution of state advocate Billy Downer and News24 journalist Karyn Maughan.

Zuma has accused Downer of leaking his confidential medical records to Maughan, something both Maughan and Downer have denied.

News24 reported that Liebenberg paid R500 000 towards Zuma’s legal costs and he was seen at the KZN High Court in Pietermaritzburg during the proceedings.

Who is Louis Liebenberg?

Liebenberg is a diamond dealer, although the legality of his operations remain sketchy. During an interview with Carte Blanche’s veteran journalist Derek Watts, Liebenberg described his operations as “both legal and illegal”.

Last year, the National Prosecuting Authority obtained a preservation order to seize R100 million in bank accounts linked to Liebenberg following allegations of money laundering and him running a Ponzi scheme.

But, last August, that order was overturned by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria because of the manner in which the matter was handled.

Liebenberg, his company Tariomix and his business partner Magdalena (Ronelle) Kleynhans did not get an opportunity to place their versions before court.

The 57-year-old, who is well-known in the Northern Cape, is alleged to have connections in illegal mining and to the failed whites-only town project, Eureka.

He was also reported to have gifted two Nguni cattle to Zuma, a gesture that earned him an invite to Nkandla – something reserved only for Zuma’s close circle.

The diamond dealer also seems to dislike current President Cyril Ramaphosa, if this video is anything to go by.

Zuma’s lawyer, Mongezi Ntanga, noted that his 80-year-old client had made provisions to fund his court action through fundraising.

Ntanga confidently stated in an affidavit there would be “no issue of any possibility of insufficiency of funds”.

“My client is already in possession of a pledge by Mr Louis Liebenberg, to the effect that in the event of the more generalised public fundraising resources or those coming from efforts yielding insufficient funds, he will top up the required amount,” said Ntanga.

Compiled by Narissa Subramoney

NOW READ: Karyn Maughan challenging prosecution a ‘stillborn attempt’ to ‘prevent inevitable’ – Zuma

Read more on these topics

Diamonds Editor’s Choice Jacob Zuma