NPA Directorate firmly in pursuit of Gupta kingpin Salim Essa and ex-McKinsey partner Vikas Sagar
The Investigating Directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority maintains Essa and Sagar are wanted alongside Gupta lieutenant Ashok Narayan, and says plans to extradite them are under way.
The names of former McKinsey & Co partner Vikas Sagar and Gupta enterprise kingpin Salim Essa are conspicuously absent from the State’s latest draft indictment in the Transnet criminal case.
So too is that of longtime Gupta enterprise employee Ashok Narayan.
But none of them is off the hook and they officially remain suspects wanted on criminal charges relating to an advisory contract linked to Transnet’s acquisition of locomotives, the Investigating Directorate (ID) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed.
The three men were first added to a draft indictment in September 2022 when the ID confirmed that warrants for their arrest had been issued.
They were a no-show when the other accused in the case briefly came before the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Palm Ridge, east of Johannesburg, on 7 December 2023.
Those who did appear were provided with an updated draft indictment, this time sans the names of Essa, Sagar and Narayan.
The ID said this was because the three had not been extradited yet.
The ID was still trying to extradite them as they remained wanted suspects, it said in a written response to questions from Daily Maverick.
Considering that more than a year has passed since the three were first named in court and they have failed to appear in court several times since then, Daily Maverick asked the ID for basic details of any extradition process but was told:
“We cannot provide this information as it will negatively impact the process.”
Essa, Sagar and Narayan would have to be located, presumably through Interpol, to aid extradition bids by South African authorities still reeling from the mess around efforts to get two Gupta brothers extradited from Dubai.
Essa is believed to be in Dubai, but has not given any indication of his precise whereabouts in ongoing litigation against the State Capture Commission.
Meanwhile, the representative of the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co, former Transnet bigwigs Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh, Phetolo Ramosebudi and Garry Pita, and businessmen Eric Wood, Litha Nyhonyha and Niven Pillay are due back in court early next year.
The State is expected to make available the final indictment before moving the case to the high court in the first quarter of 2024.
Should the trial formally kick off next year it will be more than two years since the arrest of businessman Kuben Moodley, who in September 2021 was the first to be apprehended in connection with the case.
Commonly referred to as the Transnet case, the prosecution of this group relates to an advisory contract flowing from the state-owned logistics company’s acquisition of locomotives.
They face charges including fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act. They have not yet pleaded. DM