Mail and Guardian
The Gupta patriarch Ajay has denied, under oath, that he offered Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas a promotion and millions in cash in October 2015, two months before then-finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was sacked.
However, Ajay did not deny that the meeting took place at the Gupta family’s compound in Saxonwold, nor that there actually was an attempt to bribe Jonas – Ajay only said “it wasn’t me”.
Ajay’s version of events has been confirmed by the president’s son, Duduzane Zuma and businessperson Fana Hlongwana.
Both Zuma and Hlongwana confirmed a meeting with Jonas on October 25 2015, but denied that Ajay Gupta attended.
In early 2016, Jonas detailed in public statements how he was called to a meeting by the Gupta family where he was offered the job of finance minister as well as millions in cash.
Jonas’ public confirmation caused several current and former government officials to speak out about the family allegedly interfering in government business.
An investigation by the public protector included most of the claims.
Ajay’s affidavit is the latest punch in the court battle between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and the Gupta family. At the heart of the fight is the autonomy of South Africa’s banks.
He threw down the gauntlet, challenging Jonas to prove his claims.
Ajay further said that, if there was any truth to Jonas’ claims, he would’ve reported the Gupta family to the Hawks under Section 34 of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca).
Section 34 of Precca obliges any person in a position of authority to report a crime, even if only a suspicion exists, to the relevant authorities.
The Mail & Guardian revealed last week that the Hawks have, with much fervour, chased after a whistleblower that can torpedo the Gupta empire, but at the same time seem to be reluctant about investigating corruption reports against the controversial family.
Ajay’s affidavit was attached to the affidavit of acting Oakbay chief executive Ronica Ragavan.
She asked the court to condone her supplementary answering affidavit after Gordhan had already submitted his replying affidavit. This is usually not permitted.
Gordhan’s replying affidavit is “replete with allegations and commentary which is unfounded, irrelevant, vexatious and scandalous”, Ragavan said. See the full affidavit below.
Gordhan is scheduled to file his heads of argument today (Friday).
The matter will be heard in March.