Accountant investigating shocking corruption cases tragically shot dead alongside son

Cloete Murray, an accountant investigating high-level corruption cases, has been shot and killed in Johannesburg, South Africa.

On Sunday, March 19, news of Murray’s death broke, shocking many around the world. He had been shot a day prior.

Murray’s death comes eight months after damning findings of the Zondo Commission, an investigation into political and financial corruption, came to light. This inquiry centered on the presidency of Jacob Zuma, who served as president of South Africa from 2009 to 2018. Zuma’s successor, sitting President Cyril Ramaphosa, vowed this corruption should “never [be] allowed to happen again.”

Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images

Who was Cloete Murray?

Cloete Murray was a 50-year-old accountant who was involved in investigating some of the most high-profile corruption cases in South Africa.

Murray was the court-appointed liquidator for state contractor Bosasa, now known as African Global Holdings, a company specializing in prison services. A liquidator is an insolvency practitioner who oversees the liquidation of a company. Murray also oversaw the liquidation of South African airline Comair.

During the time Bosasa was being investigated, Murray was involved in conducting a 417 inquiry into the company’s affairs. “The 417 effectively opens the door to the cupboard with all the smoking guns” he explained of the confidential inquiry to Carte Blanche in April 2022. Carte Blanche reported that there had been multiple attempts to remove Murray from liquidating Bosasa, which announced it was going into voluntary liquidation in February 2019.

Cloete Murray also served as a liquidator for firms linked to the Gupta brothers, who were arrested in Dubai in June 2022 over their alleged involvement in the corruption scandal. The Gupta brothers deny bribery accusations. As of October 2022, the brothers remained in custody in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), having been denied bail multiple times.

Cloete Murray and son Thomas shot dead in Johannesburg

On Saturday, March 18, 2023, Cloete Murray and his son, Thomas, were both shot while driving. They were on the N1 highway in Midrand, Johannesburg when their vehicle was set upon by unknown gunmen.

Thomas Murray, 28, died on the scene whereas Cloete was rushed to hospital and placed in critical care. He succumbed to his injuries in the early hours of Sunday morning (March 19).

As of yet, there is no indication of what prompted this attack. However, police will now investigate a potential link between Murray’s killing and the corruption investigations.

Thomas Murray worked as a legal practitioner at his father’s company, Sechaba Trust.

What are the Zondo Commission’s findings?

In June 2022, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector concluded its final report. This inquiry is more commonly referred to as the Zondo Commission, named after its chairperson Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The inquiry concluded that multiple incidents of state capture took place during the presidency of Jacob Zuma. Senior officials in government departments and state-owned ventures routinely broke the law.

“Government accepts the findings of the Commission with respect to the existence, nature, and extent of
state capture in South Africa,” President Ramaphosa said in his official address of the commission’s findings. “The people of South Africa are tired of corruption and want it to end… As a country, we are emerging from a dark and difficult period.”

In other news, What happened to Cloete Murray? Bosasa liquidator and son dead after ambush

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