South Africa deny wrongdoing in World Cup bid

Following allegations of bribery, South Africa insists it did nothing wrong in bidding for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The South African government has strenuously denied any wrongdoing during the bidding process for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

A United States Department of Justice indictment on Wednesday alleged the country's government paid $10million in bribes to secure the event.

The allegations came as part of a wider operation that saw 14 people, including nine past and present FIFA officials, indicted for racketeering, conspiracy and corruption.

South Africa's minister for sport and recreation, Fikile Mbalula, said: "The Department of Sport and Recreation hereby indictates that all funding by the South African government was transferred by National Treasury to the National Department of Sport and Recreation for South Africa.

"No such amount was paid by the Department of Sport and Recreation or the government of South Africa to any individual. Our financial records and books for 2010 and 2011 financial years, and those before and after the period of the World Cup, have been audited by the auditor general of South Africa and no such amount has been found on our books.

"The funds transferred to the local organising committee (LOC) were also accounted for at the close of the books of the LOC. 

"The government received the close-out report including audited financial statements by a reputable international auditing and financial firm. On this basis, the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Government of South Africa duly accepted the close-out report of the LOC and submitted the same to the National Treasury, as is expected in South African law.

"In the interest of transparency, the government also finalised its own close-out report that was approved by cabinet and released to the public in 2012. 

"We have noted with keen interest the allegations from the attorney general of United States and will follow on their investigation. We will approach our Department of International Relations and ... request through diplomatic channels between the two countries a copy of the indictment, to understand the basis on which the allegations have been made as this has the potential of tarnishing the people of our country globally and put into question the competence of our nation in organsing mega events.

"As this is a matter of national importance, we call upon all of those who were involved in the process of bidding and the execution of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to desist from making statements and to afford national government, through the Mininistry of Sport and Recreation, to handle this matter through diplomatic channels.

"We also call on those wishing to provide information to provide such through the government of South Africa. We will study the copy of the indictment thoroughly once received by the United States government."

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