Allegations of Gupta comments about Gordhan arrest 'lies' - family

2016-05-16 16:30
Ajay and Atul Gupta. (Muntu Vilakazi, City Press)

Ajay and Atul Gupta. (Muntu Vilakazi, City Press)

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Johannesburg - Allegations that Ajay Gupta said that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan would be arrested by the Hawks in connection with the so-called SARS "rogue unit" were lies, the Gupta family said on Monday. 

"This latest accusation against Ajay Gupta is a blatant lie..." family spokesperson Gary Naidoo told News24. 

"It has become commonplace for the co-ordinated and politically motivated campaign against the family, to peddle their lies via these nameless sources. These lies are then reproduced in other media and unfortunately some people then accept the content as fact.

"A lie is still a lie, even if it is repeated many times."

He said the family had faith that "the South African people will treat this latest fabrication with the contempt it deserves". 

Daily Maverick reported on Monday that members of the Gupta family were back in South Africa last week following the closure of their accounts by the country's four big banks. 

Espionage

Ajay Gupta allegedly told people dealing with the family's companies that Gordhan, former finance minister Trevor Manuel and former SA Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay would be arrested by the Hawks in connection with the 'rogue unit'. 

Ajay Gupta also allegedly said President Jacob Zuma would remove Gordhan as minister, and that Eskom CEO Brian Molefe would be appointed as a replacement, with ANC MP Sfiso Buthelezi as his deputy. 

Daily Maverick reported that Buthelezi was meant to be appointed in March, however those plans did not happen after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas publicly confirmed that the Gupta family offered him Nhlanhla Nene's position as Finance Minister before he was removed in December last year. 

The Daily Maverick report followed an article by the Sunday Times at the weekend that the Hawks wanted Gordhan and eight others to be prosecuted for espionage, for spying on taxpayers during his time as SARS commissioner.

Sources at both the Hawks and NPA reportedly claimed that authorities were waiting for "political go-ahead" before going through with the arrest.

The Hawks on Sunday would not comment on the matter. Spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi referred questions by News24 to the presidency.

Constitutional democracy

The presidency dismissed the report saying it was clearly the "work of dangerous information peddlers who wish to cause confusion and mayhem in the country".

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) denied that it received a docket from the Hawks for a decision on whether to prosecute Gordhan. 

"As far as the so-called rogue unit matter is concerned, which is [being] investigated by the Hawks, our prosecutors are actually guiding that investigation," NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told News24 on Sunday.

News24's sister publication Netwerk24 reported that Manuel said the Hawks and the NPA had not spoken to him. 

"I have no comment, except that the Constitutional Court confirmed on March 31 this year that we live in a constitutional democracy. For this reason, even they [the Hawks] must follow the correct procedure, simply because citizens have rights."

Read more on:    npa  |  sars  |  hawks  |  nhlanhla ­nene  |  ivan pillay  |  jacob zuma  |  gupta family  |  pravin gordhan  |  politics

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