Guptas went through many channels

2013-05-19 19:40
(Picture: Beeld)

(Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The wealthy Gupta family resorted to using diplomatic channels when it failed to get landing rights from ministers and the Airports Company SA, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said on Sunday.

"The investigating team has conclusively found that in February 2013 the Gupta family approached the Airports Company SA and requested landing rights and an elaborate reception for the wedding party," Radebe said.

"This would have disrupted the functioning of OR Tambo International Airport at the time of landing, particularly the operations of the national immigration branch at the airport."

The request was turned down.

Radebe was delivering the findings of an investigation by several ministers into the landing of a privately chartered plane by the Gupta family at the Waterkloof Air Force Base on 29 April.

In March, the minister of defence and military veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and her adviser were approached by the Gupta family on different occasions, said Radebe.

"On 3 April 2013 this request was also turned down."

The Gupta family then resorted to the use of diplomatic channels with the support of an individual in the Indian High Commission.

This person "re-designated the wedding entourage as an official delegation" to enable them to use the base under the cover of diplomatic privilege, said Radebe.

A plane chartered by the Gupta family, carrying 270 wedding guests, landed at Waterkloof last month. Guests were attending the wedding of Vega Gupta, 23, and Indian-born Aakash Jahajgarhia at Sun City. The landing sparked widespread criticism.

Government initiated a probe into a possible breach of diplomatic protocol.

Read more on:    jeff radebe  |  nosiviwe mapisa-nqakula  |  vega gupta  |  aakash jahajgarhia  |  gupta wedding  |  gupta jet

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