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Scorpio Newsflash

Gupta ‘fixer’ Kuben Moodley in court after night in Katlehong police cells

Kuben Moodley during his bail application hearing in the Palm Ridge Specialised Crimes Court on Wednesday. Moodley was nabbed at OR Tambo International Airport as he was about to catch a flight to Dubai. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Kuben Moodley’s arrest is one of the most significant from the State Capture docket so far because he has been a vital cog in lucrative deals involving Transnet and the Gupta enterprise as well as Regiments Capital and its offshoot, Trillian Capital Partners.

The National Prosecuting Authority hurriedly secured an arrest warrant for alleged Gupta fixer Kuben Moodley on Tuesday.

The Johannesburg businessman was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport shortly before he was scheduled to board a flight to Dubai.

Moodley is currently appearing in the Palm Ridge Specialised Crimes Court where a bail application is under way.

His arrest is likely to have triggered major unease among those associated with various questionable transactions involving Transnet, Regiments Capital or its offshoot, Trillian Capital Partners.

Moodley is among several individuals under investigation over allegations involving theft, fraud, corruption and money laundering relating to deals at Transnet and one of its pension funds. 

The ongoing criminal investigation that led to Moodley’s arrest covers, among other things, Transnet’s 1064 locomotive acquisition contract and one involving the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund.

Authorities have previously named him as allegedly having been central to a 2012 meeting that is widely regarded as the genesis of the Gupta foray into state-owned companies.

It is said that the meeting, allegedly also attended by Regiments Capital’s Niven Pillay and Gupta kingpin Salim Essa, thrashed out the workings of an alleged kickback arrangement, sometimes described as business development fees, for deals at Transnet and the pension fund. 

The meeting came up extensively during the testimony of Standard Bank’s former group legal counsel, Ian Sinton, at the Zondo Commission in 2019.  

Sinton was testifying about why the bank had decided to terminate the accounts of Regiments Capital a few years ago.

Standard Bank presents records of alleged money laundering operation involving Gupta-linked entities

Kuben Moodley and Iqbal Sharma at the 2011 MTN SuperSport Shootout at the Simola Golf and Country Estate in Knysna on 13 May 2011. (Photo: Dominic Barnardt / Gallo Images)

Moodley has managed to keep a relatively low profile in recent years. His arrest comes within four months of that of former Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma. Sharma, who is being prosecuted in connection with a R24.9-million case involving the Free State government, is currently out on bail of R500,000. 

Docket nr 971/02/2021: The State v Iqbal Sharma – and the Guptas 

In  2019, Moodley had a run-in with the State Capture Commission after investigators had accessed his “extra extra large” safety deposit boxes at Knox Vaults in Killarney, Johannesburg.

‘Do not disturb’ sign stays on Gupta lieutenant Kuben Moodley’s safety deposit boxes – for now

The Zondo Commission eventually released his belongings but then Hermione Cronje’s team pounced to restrain R232-million in assets belonging to Moodley.

Who is Kuben Moodley?

  • Director of Albatime, a company accused of having received kickbacks from government deals awarded to Regiments Capital;
  • He has always maintained the payments were “business development fees” paid to him in exchange for having made certain introductions that paved the way for lucrative deals at Transnet;
  • Albatime was named in the 2016 Public Protector’s State of Capture Report as having contributed R10-million towards the Gupta family’s acquisition of Optimum Coal Mine;
  • Moodley briefly served as one of three special advisers to Mosebenzi Zwane, the former minister of mineral resources; and
  • In 2019, Moodley rushed to court after the Zondo Commission seized his various safety deposit boxes held at Knox Titanium Vault in Johannesburg. DM

Update at 4.09pm:

Moodley was granted bail of R150 000 and the case was postponed to February 28 2022. He was ordered to hand in his passport and has to report to the Sandton police station twice a week. The State confirms that he faces charges of fraud, theft and money laundering of more than R300-m both in his personal capacity and as a director of Albatime Pty Ltd. He also faces charges for allegedly allowing Albatime’s bank account to be used to launder cash to entities owned by the Gupta family.

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All Comments 15

  • If there were such a thing as a South African Nobel Prize (any category), it would be a toss-up between Scorpio and AmaBungane as to who should be awarded it. Perhaps share it. . . .?

  • The NPA has had an uphill battle to get competent and honest staff. There are really positive signs that they are gaining traction and more orange overalls are coming to a place near a lot of people we know who.

  • Congratulations to you very brave and dedicated journalists at The Daily Maverick and AmaBungane. Your publications are what still gives me hope in the future of this country. I will never forget the contribution you’ve made to restore pride to our nation. Thank you all.

  • Unfortunately he’ll be gone by morning. If the NPA is serious about keeping these people here they must be more realistic. R150 000 bail is nothing for this guy and is not going to keep him in this country.