HAWKS drop FIFA PROBE
The abandonment of the inquiry by the local crime-fighting unit into the $10m bribe allegation will raise eyebrows
The Hawks have called a halt to their preliminary probe into the Fifa bribery scandal and will no longer be investigating allegations that South Africa paid a bribe of $10 million (R124 million at the current exchange rate) to bag the 2010 World Cup.
The reason they have decided to drop the inquiry will be announced this week, said senior Hawks sources.
The charge was initially laid by Freedom Front Plus MP Anton Alberts, who asked them to investigate allegations that Safa chief president and newly appointed Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Danny Jordaan had approved the payment to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf ).
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi was quoted as saying two weeks ago that the Hawks had launched a preliminary investigation.
But now Hawks senior officers have told City Press their inquiry had not uncovered any information and investigators had not interviewed any officials who were “persons of interest” in the scandal that has rocked world football.
Mulaudzi admitted they had neither interviewed nor questioned any of the people involved in the alleged payment of the bribe to former Concacaf president Jack Warner.
The Hawks are halting their preliminary investigation into the Fifa bribery scandal – specifically into allegations that South Africa paid a $10 million bribe to secure the rights to host the 2010 soccer World Cup. Highly placed sources within the elite unit have told City Press the decision to drop the inquiry will be announced this week.
Abandoning the probe will raise eyebrows given that the Hawks bizarrely opted for an inquiry instead of a full investigation when first approached to look into the allegations.
Freedom Front Plus MP Anton Alberts had asked that the Hawks examine allegations that Safa chief and newly appointed Nelson Mandela Bay metro mayor Danny Jordaan had sanctioned the payment of $10 million to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf ).
A subsequent letter written by former Safa boss Molefi Oliphant specifically indicated that the money be managed by former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, who is now the subject of an investigation by the FBI in the US.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi was quoted two weeks ago as saying the Hawks had launched a preliminary investigation.
But now Hawks insiders who spoke to City Press said the inquiry had not uncovered any information and investigators had not interviewed any officials who were “persons of interest” in the scandal that has rocked world football.
“All they have are newspaper clippings obtained from news website IOL.co.za and News24.com, which were submitted by political party Freedom Front Plus in their request for an investigation,” said a highly placed source.
Mulaudzi this week said a case had actually not been opened, which was why they had launched an inquiry rather than a full investigation.
“We launched an inquiry and will make an announcement when the time is right to do so,” he said.
Mulaudzi admitted they had not interviewed nor questioned any of those involved in the alleged payment of the bribe to Warner.
On Thursday, the DA announced that it would submit an application for access to information held by Safa and the department of sport and recreation.
The application seeks to compel Safa and the department to release all documents relating to the decision to pay $10 million to Warner.
Fifa and the South African government have insisted that the payment to Concacaf was not a bribe but rather a grant towards the diaspora development programme.
But indications from the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago are that the diaspora development programme does not exist, and Warner used a large chunk of the money for his personal benefit.
A BBC investigation revealed that three payments made between January and March 2008 totalling $10 million were wired from a Fifa account in Switzerland to accounts Warner controlled. He allegedly used large chunks of the money to settle a personal loan. He is also alleged to have used some of the money to pay off his credit cards.
Among the documents the DA is seeking access to are:
All correspondence between Concacaf, Safa, the 2010 bid and local organising committees and South African government officials to do with the decision to authorise the payment of $10 million to Concacaf between 2004 and 2011;
All documented communication between Safa and Treasury to do with the payment;
All documentation between the presidency, Safa, local organising committees and the department of sport and recreation to do with the decision to pay the money to Concacaf; and
All budgetary documents pertaining to South Africa’s bid and finances for the 2010 World Cup between 2004 and 2011.
A Hawks source said the crime-fighting unit had encountered a lack of cooperation from the FBI regarding the probe despite a memorandum of understanding being in place.
“We have worked with the FBI in the past, but in this case they did not involve us in their investigation. We don’t know why,” added a senior source.