DA to add new charges against Guptas

2016-10-16 13:51
Ajay Gupta (File)

Ajay Gupta (File)

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Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance on Sunday said it will add new charges to its corruption case against the Gupta family.

"I have already laid charges of corruption against Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta and Duduzane Zuma," said DA MP David Maynier in a statement.

"[I] will now request them to extend their investigation into possible exchange-control violations relating to a suspicious transaction involving VR Laser Asia, as well as the other suspicious transactions, including the R1.3bn transaction involving the purchase of the Optimum Coal Mine."

On Friday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan filed court papers that contained details of "suspicious" bank transactions by Gupta-owned companies totalling almost R7bn.

Gordhan wants the court to declare that, as Finance Minister, he is in no way obligated to help the Guptas in their battle with South Africa's largest banks, all of whom had terminated their banking relationships with the Guptas and their companies earlier this year.

‘Suspicious’ transactions

READ: HERE IT IS: The full list of 72 'dodgy' Gupta transactions

In support of his argument that the banks may have had good reason to close the Gupta accounts, Gordhan attached in his application a document from the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) detailing 72 transactions made by Gupta-linked companies between 2012 and June 2016.

The transactions are valued at R6.8bn and had been classified by the FIC as "suspicious".

One such transaction is an amount of R1.3bn that had allegedly been paid from the mining rehabilitation trust fund of Optimum, the coal mine the Guptas' Tegeta Exloration and Resources had purchased from international mining giant Glencore under highly controversial circumstances, to the Bank of Baroda, an Indian bank that still does business with the Guptas.

Maynier laid the original charges against the controversial business mogul family in March this year in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (No. 12 of 2004).

On Sunday, he said that Gordhan, had now "pushed the 'red button' and escalated the dirty war between himself and President Jacob Zuma's most important clients, the Guptas".

"We have to be sure that the suspicious transactions are being investigated by the South African Police Service," he said.

At the time that the DA launched the original criminal case, reports had emerged that the African National Congress-aligned Gupta family had allegedly offered cabinet positions to at least two ANC members in exchange for favourable business decisions.


READ: EFF to open case against Guptas after explosive Gordhan affidavit

In August, as it became apparent that Gordhan might be prosecuted for his role in the running of a supposedly illegal "rogue unit" at the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

Financial journalist Alec Hogg wrote on BizNews that Treasury would consider the so-called "nuclear bomb" option if the persecution of Gordhan neared crisis point.

This option, according to Hogg's sources, involved Treasury's dissemination of damning evidence of corruption involving some of South Africa's most powerful figures in business and politics.

On Sunday, the Economic Freedom Fighters also announced that it would open a criminal case against the Gupta family and their company directors after the "suspicious" transactions revealed in Gordhan’s court application.

In a statement, the party said it believed the family and their businesses were involved in "money laundering, racketeering and gross corruption".

However, on Saturday, a confident Ajay Gupta - the man considered as the patriarch of the Gupta business family - brushed off the reports implicating his family and their companies.

Gupta, speaking to News24 from abroad, denied that any member of the Gupta family or any of their businesses had been involved in any dubious transactions.

"I really don't know much about the papers [filed by Gordhan], but I can tell you that there is zero chance that any of those payments could have been suspicious in any way," said Gupta.

Read more on:    da  |  eff  |  ajay gupta  |  pravin gordhan  |  politics

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