AS IT HAPPENED: Gupta family wanted to purchase LMT Holdings, #StateCaptureInquiry hears, As it happened

2019-03-20 15:30

The state capture inquiry continues with testimony from former group CEO of Denel, Riaz Saloojee.

WATCH LIVE: State Capture Inquiry 

(Courtesy of SABC) 

Raymond Zondo chairs the state capture inquiry

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Last Updated at 18:07
20 Mar 17:41
The commission adjourns until Friday 09:00. 

20 Mar 17:39

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Saloojee says after his lawyers had challenged Denel to a disciplinary hearing, but Denel said through its lawyers that they are not intending to deal with the allegations.

20 Mar 17:07
Saloojee says he and his colleagues consistently challenged the Denel board to a disciplinary hearings.

20 Mar 17:04

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He says Africa was not even interviewed by the board; she was just suspended. 

20 Mar 16:43
Saloojee says he, Mhlontho and Africa were all called to the risk committee meeting immediately after the London trip. He says they were asked to give reasons why they must not to be suspended.

20 Mar 16:39

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Saloojee says then minister Brown told him in person that she had asked that his contract be extended by five years because she was happy with his performance. 

20 Mar 16:18
Saloojee says around September 2015, the risk and audit committee called for an urgent meeting to discuss LSSA transaction. He says they provided all the necessary documentation.

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He says when he arrived, it appeared that the meeting had already started. He says he only discussed LMT in that meeting.

20 Mar 16:08

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Saloojee says that he got a call from Mantsha, requesting to be briefed in September 2015. This was after the induction of the new board. He says he was directed to the Gupta residence.

20 Mar 15:51

Zondo and Gcabashe discuss how the rest of today's proceedings will play out, and agree to extend it past the usual finishing time to try and conclude Saloojee's evidence. 

With that, Zondo calls for a "comfort break" adjournment. Back at 16:00.

20 Mar 15:45

Gcabashe now asking Saloojee about the way board appointments were made at Denel once Lynne Brown came on board as the new public enterprises minister. 

Saloojee says the board members deliberate and choose among themselves who is best suited for the role, and it is then taken to the minister for approval. "It's not as if the minister says that 'I have appointed this board and one, two, three will be audit committee members'," says Saloojee, according to his understanding. 

But Saloojee says that she "had already announced the audit and risk committee before the full board could apply its mind". 

Saloojee agrees with Gcabashe that this was an "anomaly". The board had not fully convened yet. 

20 Mar 15:32

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Saloojee says he came to the conclusion that Mantsha and Essa had an "understanding". Saloojee says it was clear that the appointment of Mantsha was a continuation of the "takeover" of Denel. While Mantsha assured Saloojee that things at Denel would be done right, Saloojee says that he was skeptical.

20 Mar 15:26

Saloojee says before the AGM, and the announcement of a new board in July 2015, Ntshepe told him that Essa wanted to meet with him so he could introduce him to the new chairperson of the board, Daniel Mantsha. 

Saloojee says he was "perplexed" that Essa wanted to introduce him to the new chairperson of the board, given that Essa had also introduced him to the Guptas, with Gigaba present, as well as Duduzane Zuma, and Ace Magashule's son. 

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Saloojee discussing events at Denel and the effect of the appointment of Lynne Brown as minister of public enterprises.

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Back from lunch.

Saloojee continues with his evidence. Asked how he felt about attending the meetings with the Guptas - he says he was conflicted but believed he was strong enough to manage the process.

20 Mar 13:06

Proceedings adjourn for lunch. Back at 14:00.

20 Mar 13:06

Saloojee: "So when the meeting ends, I'm walking out of the house. Essa is in front of me, Tony Gupta is walking next to me. And here he says to me, why don't I take money?" 

Saloojee: "He says to me, because everybody takes money. And I looked at him very specifically in his eyes and I said to him, I do not take money. And I walked down the stairs and I left." 

Saloojee says he was shocked by the offer, because it was so "blatant", but given what had happened before this offer, he couldn't really say that he was all that shocked.

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Saloojee says for a while he had not taken calls from Essa, but eventually agreed to a third meeting with Essa and the Guptas, where Tony Gupta took the lead and the atmosphere was quite tense, and Tony Gupta said to him: "You are not co-operating and this lack of your co-operation is a serious issue." 

Saloojee says that Tony Gupta also indicated that he did not want to "elevate" this matter further. 

20 Mar 12:41

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Saloojee says in the meeting, Essa told him that the Guptas "had supported" his appointment (as group CEO of Denel). 

"I was extremely surprised when he made this statememt," says Saloojee, explaining the rigorous process that he had gone through to become the group CEO of Denel.

20 Mar 12:36

Saloojee says in the second meeting he drove himself to the place because he knew where it was. 

Saloojee: "When I get into the room there, Tony Gupta and Essa are present there. But there was also another individual who was there and I was introduced to the individual there, as Duduzane Zuma." 

Saloojee: "And later there was another individual who walked into the room, but was there for a short while, who Tony Gupta said to me, 'This is Ace Magashule's son', the premier of the Free State. But he had left shortly afterwards. He didn't stay."

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