DA links Guptas to the Free State government Focus on allegations

2016-03-30 06:00

THE DA said the Free State had also been captured by the Guptas and accused Premier Ace Magashule of awarding multi-million rand tenders to the business family.

Recently, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said the Guptas offered him the job of his then senior, Nhlanhla Nene.

Jonas refused to take the job and Des van Rooyen was slotted in, only to be replaced four days later by Pravin Gordhan.

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor also alleged in a Facebook post that the family, who have close business ties with President Zuma’s family, had offered her a cabinet position while Zuma was in the next room.

The DA member of the Free State Legislature, Roy Jankielsohn, criticised Magashule during a budget vote debate on the Office of the Premier at the Refentse Primary School in Thabu Nchu on Tuesday 22 March.

Jankielsohn said recent revelations on the Gupta family and high profile politicians would not help Moses Tshake, who was an auditor employed by the Free State Provincial Government to help manage financial ethics and adherence to good governance in government.

At the time of his death, in February 2013, Tshake was investigating the controversial Mahoma Mobung Vrede Dairy Project.

Jankielsohn said Tshake’s investigations into the Vrede Dairy Project had led to his kidnapping, torture, and death.

Jankielsohn said the Vrede Dairy Project had been implemented Z without following supply chain procedures, without a budget, without a feasibility study and without the requirement of urgency to by-pass some of these requirements.

He added that Estina, a company linked to the Guptas, was both a partner and the implementing agent which in itself was irregular, if not criminal.

The DA alleged that the director of Estina, Kamal Vasram, only had information technology (IT) experience and no experience in dairy matters whatsoever.

“Estina was meant to invest R228 million in the project, and the provincial government a further R342 million.

“It was highly irregular that Estina should then contractually receive a 49% share in the project for a 40% investment,” said Jankielsohn during the debate.

The DA alleged that the contract had been approved by Magashule.

The spokesperson of the premier, Tiisetso Makhele, said the premier had long ago commented on issues raised by the DA and said the premier did not account to any opposition party.

  • Some of the allegations raised by the DA are: Estina was irregularly paid R184 million directly into its account by the provincial government for the construction of a dairy, processing plant, cow sheds and other infrastructure.) Since the Free State Development Corporation (FDC) has taken over the project, it has been found that further investment will be required to complete the project.) The 80 beneficiaries whose names were produced after questions by the DA in the legislature, have subsequently been completely sidelined in this project, which was confirmed in a meeting between them and the DA last year.) After investigations by both the National Treasury and the Public Protector had been initiated, the contract with Estina was terminated.
  • It was done with no penalty, accountability, or consequences for either the company or officials in government. A National Treasury report, that almost cost R800 000 to produce and that recommended disciplinary action against senior officials in government, has been ignored by the premier and all MECs of Agriculture involved in the project; that is MEC Mosebenzi Zwane, Mamiki Qabathe, and Oupa Khoabane.) Atul Gupta is alleged to have purchased a property in Vrede Z De Oude Pastorie Z for the use of the project co-ordinator, Chandrama Prasad, who was the former secretary to the chief minister of the Uttar Pradesh Province in India, the Guptas’ home province. ) The Guptas and the former MEC for Agriculture in the Free State and the current National Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mosebenzi Zwane, are known to meet at the Estina Vrede property. ) The same chief minister, Shivpal Singh Yadav, was involved in the illegal landing of a private plane at the Waterkloof Airforce Base in Pretoria to attend the Gupta wedding at Sun City.) Former MEC Zwane covered for Yadav by indicating that he was on an official visit to the Free State. ) Estina’s Gauteng offices were housed in the same Grayston Ridge Office Park in Sandton that also houses a number of Gupta businesses, including Mabengela Investments, in which the sons of both President Jacob Zuma and Premier Ace Magashule are involved.

It was highly irregular that Estina should then contractually receive a 49% share in the project for a 40% investment. – Roy ­Jankielsohn

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