No warrant of arrest for Duduzane Zuma over Estina dairy farm - Hawks

2018-02-23 16:27
Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane. (Gallo Images)

Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane. (Gallo Images)

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Pretoria – While the Hawks have not clarified whether or not Duduzane Zuma is a suspect in the Estina dairy farm investigation, acting Hawks head Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata has confirmed that there is no warrant of arrest out for former president Jacob Zuma's son. 

At a press briefing in Pretoria on Friday, Matakata said she would not answer as to whether Zuma was also being sought in relation to the allegations of fraud and corruption at the Estina Farm Community Project in Vrede, Free State, saying they had never made a pronouncement that he was a suspect or a fugitive. 

SCROLL: Hawks 'don't want to compromise investigation' into Vrede dairy farm project

"We never mentioned a Mr Duduzane Zuma at that point in time and I'm not going answer that specifically around him, as I indicated that this investigation around the arrests of the eight people on the Estina Dairy farm matter was phase one," she said.

"We still have other phases to investigate; the investigations are still ongoing on the other phases. So I am not at liberty to refer to Mr Duduzane Zuma that we never made a pronouncement on.

"We don’t have any warrants for arrest (for Zuma), that pronouncement was never made by us."

News24 previously reported that it understood that Zuma was on the run. 

The Hawks also clarified that Ajay Gupta, of the controversial Gupta family, was indeed a fugitive, but that he was wanted on a charge of corruption not related to the Estina investigation.

Hawks in talks with lawyers

Matakata said the Hawks had been in talks with Ajay's lawyers, who had asked for the warrant of arrest. The Hawks had refused to hand this over until the lawyers delivered Ajay.

"At the moment, the investigation is liaising with his lawyers, who have written to us, and we have responded accordingly."

She would not be drawn into whether the Hawks had given Ajay a deadline to turn himself in, and said they were now now waiting for a response from his lawyers. 

READ: NPA opposes Atul Gupta's AFU challenge

Seven of the eight people arrested by the Hawks during raids at Gupta compounds on February 8 were granted bail in the Bloemfontein Regional Court last week.

State officials Peter Thabethe, Sylvia Dlamini and Takisi Masiteng were each granted R10 000 bail. Meanwhile, Gupta-linked suspects Varun Gupta, Ronica Ragavan, Nazeem Howa and Ashu Chawla were each granted R200 000 bail. Estina director Kamal Vasram was granted bail of R100 000 on Monday.

Last month, the National Prosecuting Authority seized control of the Estina Dairy Farm near Vrede in the Free State, as well as the bank accounts of Atul Gupta and companies co-owned by Duduzane Zuma, and other entities in the Gupta empire. 

'Competently, honestly and independently'

In his affidavit before court, AFU head of operations, advocate Knorx Molelle, revealed how the Free State's agricultural department – under then-MEC Mosebenzi Zwane - paid R220m to the Guptas in what the AFU called a "scheme designed to defraud and steal monies from the department".

The farm, that was gifted to the Gupta-linked Estina in 2013 under a free 99-year lease by the Free State agriculture department, was one of the most scandalous transactions between the Guptas and a government entity.

In 2017, the Gupta Leaks revealed how at least R30m, paid to the Guptas via the farm, ended up funding the family's lavish Sun City wedding in 2013.

Last week, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said that there were 13 suspects wanted for the Estina dairy matter, five of whom were still at large. Three of them were believed to be out of country. 

Matakata said they would not be revealing the names of the five other suspects as it could compromise their investigations. 

She further wished to assure the nation that the Hawks were not influenced in anyway, politically or otherwise. 

"All our investigations are being done competently, honestly and independently, without outside influence of any kind. We will continue to pursue and investigate these complex matters without any fear and favour," said Matakata.

Read more on:    estina  |  hawks  |  duduzane ­zuma  |  gupta family  |  fikile mbalula  |  state capture  |  corruption allegations

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