Ajay Gupta on Jonas finance minister offer claim: 'I was not even present'

2018-09-27 23:09
Ajay and Atul Gupta with Duduzane Zuma (Gallo Images/ City Press/ Muntu Vilakazi)

Ajay and Atul Gupta with Duduzane Zuma (Gallo Images/ City Press/ Muntu Vilakazi)

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Ajay Gupta has rubbished former finance minister Mcebisi Jonas' claim that he was offered the job of finance minister at the family's Saxonwold mansion.

In fact, he said he wasn't there at the time of the claimed meeting and that there was someone who would be able to support his alibi.

In an affidavit sent to the state capture commission of inquiry in lieu of testifying or answering questions in person, Gupta said he was not even at the house at the time that Jonas said he was offered a vast sum of money to take the minister job.

"I categorically state that I never met with Mr Jonas on the afternoon of 23 October at no 5 Saxonwold Drive at the Gupta residence, (or on any other date, either before or thereafter)," he said in the affidavit, which was submitted by his advocate, Michael Hellens.

"I was not even present that time when an alleged meeting was held between the mentioned role players at the said residence, as I was at the offices at Oakbay in Katherine Street, Sandton."

The affidavit was accompanied by an explanation that Gupta would not return to South Africa to testify on the grounds that he did not think authorities would treat him fairly.

Instead, he has offered to testify at a venue outside South Africa, or by video link, but wanted to respond to some of the claims made against him so far.

He said Oakbay CEO Ronica Ragavan and other employees could back up his alibi that he was in the office.

READ: Mcebisi Jonas' full statement to state capture commission: 'They would kill me'

He had also tendered his cellphone records to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela when she gave him a "superficial" interview in October 2016, and denied to her the allegations regarding the meeting Jonas claimed to have with him.

He added that the meeting with the Public Protector was initiated by him, following media reports.

His identity was suggested to Jonas by way of a leading question or a photograph, he said.

According to Gupta, since then, Jonas said in court papers that he was still not sure who he met that day and that it might have been Rajesh Gupta, because he did not know the Guptas.

Jonas' claims in a statement, dated August 8, that Ajay Gupta had intended to kill him was never mentioned to the Public Protector, he said.

He also denied that he made any financial offer to Jonas or that he suggested he was close to former president Jacob Zuma.

"His version of the events of the meeting he had with Mr Fana Hlongwana and Duduzane Zuma is nothing but an intentional fabrication to implicate me in alleged wrongdoing in which I played no part as I was not present and never met Mr Jonas."

He added that there was also no bar area on the level where the lounge was situated, as described by Jonas, and said that, if the meeting did take place, Jonas should have reported it to the nearest police station.

He said Duduzane Zuma "was well known to me" but added that he did not know Hlongwane then, nor what Duduzane Zuma's or Hlongwane's dealings were.

"It follows that I made no offer of a ministerial post as described by him, I did not make any offer to him, to pay him R600 000 in cash or offer to pay him R600 million in an account of his choice."

He said he also had no knowledge of a Cabinet reshuffle and never had influence over Cabinet ministers.

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Read more on:    ajay gupta  |  mcebesi jonas  |  state capture  |  state capture commission

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