Gupta arrests

Ajay and Atul Gupta. Photo: Flickr / Damanpreet Singh

Gupta’s unlikely to appear before state capture commission – Zondo

State Capture Inquiry head Zondo conceded that the corruption accused Guptas will in all likelihood avoid a grilling by the commission.

Gupta arrests

Ajay and Atul Gupta. Photo: Flickr / Damanpreet Singh

State Capture Inquiry Chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has dampened hopes that South Africa will ever get to see the corruption-accused Gupta family in the now extremely familiar chambers where he has for three years been probing alleged corruption and looting of state funds during Jacob Zuma’s presidency. 

During a media briefing on Monday 21 December where he provided updates on the work of the Commission, Zondo said that the Guptas – who are currently fugitives of justice hiding out in the UAE – are highly unlikely to return to the country where they are accused of the mountainous acts of treason and corruption and provide testimony. 

State Capture Commission ‘maintains integrity despite Gupta’s absence’ 

Zondo told journalists that the absence of the Guptas – the alleged masterminds who are by far most prominently implicated in the corruption allegations – is a shame, but that it will not prevent his investigative team and judicial panel from ensuring that justice is served to those responsible. 

“It would have been good to have the evidence of the Guptas,” he said, “but at this stage I don’t expect that the Guptas will come back to South Africa. Certainly, I don’t think they would do so while the Commission is going on.”

“The fact that the Guptas don’t come, I don’t think it will affect the credibility of the Commission. In the end the evidence is there.”

Guptas implicated in tax rebate fraud

Earlier in December, the State Capture Inquiry heard evidence from Paul Holden, a researcher for forensics firm Shadow World Investigations, who went on record saying that the Gupta family enterprise fraudulently claimed, and was paid, R9 million in tax rebates by the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Zondo told the media on Monday that based on the evidence, the Guptas will be fortunate to avoid culpability. 

“I want to refer to the fact that […] a few weeks ago the commission had evidence relating to money flows,” he said. 

“Mr Peter Holden gave extensive evidence over a number of days showing how money that came from SOEs in the country, one of them being Transnet, took a journey into various entities connected with the Guptas and ultimately where that money ended,” 

He said that based on the testimony provided by Holden, there is “very strong evidence of the involvement of certain entities” in the looting of state companies that have since crumbled into near ruin. 

‘State Capture has corrupted South African’s trust and will’ – Mohale  

The Black Management Forum’s former president, Bonang Mohale, told SABC News on Monday that the Gupta’s alleged antics have dearly costed South Africa’s most desperate and impoverished masses. 

“Corruption in both the private and public sectors have a detrimental effect on government efforts to deliver effective services to the people,” he said.

“It’s important to adhere to good governance and create an environment where corruption cannot flourish. Good governance means stakeholders increasingly demand accountability, that’s why we demand action as citizens begin to lose faith in the ability or willingness of their elected officials.”

Zondo said on Monday that the anticipated final report on the inquiry, which promises to contain “in the order of a billion gigabyte[s] of data on corruption and fraud that has been collected”. 

“I said some time back that the evidence that the Commission will have is likely to be evidence that will make sure that [the] report will be very credible without their evidence.”