South Africa

Days of Zondo

Ajay Gupta tackles Jonas testimony from his Dubai safe haven

Indian businessmen, Ajay Gupta and younger brother Atul Gupta and Oakbay MD Jagdish Parekh at a one on one interview with Business Day in Johannesburg, South Africa on 2 March 2011 regarding their professional relationships. (Photo by Gallo Images/Business Day/Martin Rhodes)

The Gupta brother who may or may not be a fugitive from justice in South Africa has provided the Zondo State Capture inquiry with a six-page statement in which he categorically denies having met former deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, in October 2015 – or at any time before or after that.

For starters, Ajay Gupta says he was nowhere near the Saxonwold compound where the alleged R600-million bribe was made to Mcebisi Jonas, nor the scene of the offer to make him the country’s finance minister.

No, Mr Gupta was at the family’s Oakbay offices and his “alibi” will be supported by none other than staff, including fraud and corruption accused, Ronica Ragavan.

Ragavan, CEO of various Gupta companies, is the woman who holds what is left of the empire in her hands, albeit on paper. She faces criminal charges in respect of the Estina dairy farm scandal that resulted in huge amounts of cash, meant for poor black farmers, allegedly landing up with the Guptas.

Former President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, is already facing criminal charges over the alleged Jonas bribe offer.

Ajay Gupta’s affidavit was signed on 2 September, 2018 before a Commissioner of Oaths at the South African Consulate in Dubai.

It is not immediately clear what value this affidavit holds as he is not prepared to travel to South Africa.

He was unsuccessful in his application earlier in September for leave to cross-examine Jonas.

Chairman of the State Capture inquiry, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, dismissed the application, in part because of his unwillingness to come to South Africa.

The Gupta patriarch had sought to testify via video link and had told the Commission, via his legal team, that he feared being arrested upon arrival and that South African law enforcement agencies, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority, were incompetent. DM

READ Ajay Gupta in his own words here:

Ajay Gupta Affidavit


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