Ajay Gupta

State capture inquiry: Ajay Gupta denied appeal to cross-examine Trevor Manuel

“Not today, not ever” – Zondo sends a strong message to the Gupta family.

Ajay Gupta

Things are surely stirring up at the state capture inquiry. It seems now more than ever, that the Gupta family has been unsettled. This comes after Ajay Gupta was denied leave of appeal to cross-examine former Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel.

As reported by the Mail and Guardian, Manuel is expected to testify at Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo’s commission of inquiry into state capture.

ReadState capture inquiry shocked by Angelo Agrizzi’s use of racist language

Why does Ajay Gupta want to cross-examine Trevor Manuel?

This pertains the allegation Manuel made two years ago about Mbalula’s appointment as Minister of Sports.

Manuel published an open letter in 2017, detailing how Mbalula revealed, in a national executive committee (NEC) meeting, that Atul Gupta knew of his appointment to the Sports portfolio before he did.

According to Manuel, the tearful Mbalula admitted that the Gupta may have influenced the decision former president Jacob Zuma made to shift him towards that portfolio.

ReadConfirmed: Angelo Agrizzi implicates Jacob Zuma in state capture inquiry

The Guptas caught wind of this and used their legal representation that has been present at the inquiry to challenge Manuel’s testimony. After hearing that Manuel planned to implicate Atul in his testimony, the family’s patriarch, Ajay, submitted an application to cross-examine the former Finance Minister.

Gupta’s bid to throw off state capture inquiry fails

Up until now, Deputy Chief Justice Zondo has denied the Guptas the right to cross-examine witnesses where they have been implicated in evidence. This, according to the head of the inquiry, is largely due to their refusal to return to South Africa and face the commission.

Advocate Mike Hellens, Ajay’s legal representative, had revealed that the Guptas were interested in being virtually present at the inquiry.

Hellens stated that the Guptas would be more than happy to engage with the process via video call or connect virtually through a remote location. Their fears are, Hellens said, have to do with the unfair treatment and harassment they have endured from the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Read“Let’s get the full picture before taking action” – Ramaphosa’s response to state capture

Zondo stomps his authority on inquiry proceedings

Zondo, however, was not moved by this bait. He revealed, on Tuesday, that he has denied Ajay appeal to cross-examine Manuel or any other witness for that matter.

For the head of the inquiry, the supposition that the Gupta family is being harassed by the Hawks and the NPA does not give them sufficient grounds to avoid taking accountability and being present, in their physical form, at the inquiry.