The Gupta brothers – central figures in the #StateCaptureReport – have fought back at allegations contained in the 350-plus document prepared by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. While some have described the allegations of state capture as of the order of a nuclear bomb, the Gupta family lawyer says that they are not implicated in any wrongdoing and will respond to all the allegations in due course. The Guptas don’t intend to do much, though, until the National Treasury comes up with funds to set up a Commission of Inquiry. For now, this is just a report, not a court finding, with the over-riding message from the Gupta camp that it is business as usual. With years of being cushioned by powerful figures against repeat blows to their empire, and South Africa’s law-enforcement agencies consistently failing to take successful action to bring to book corrupt politicians and their accomplices, it is perhaps inevitable that the Guptas think that this, too, shall pass. – Jackie Cameron
By Kaveel Singh
Johannesburg – The Gupta family lawyer says the state capture report did not give his clients an opportunity to present evidence or comment.
“The evidence was without the participation of the family or the Gupta owned companies and now we have the opportunity to collate our bundle and present our facts to a judge,” Gert van der Merwe told eNCA.
He said the controversial family was willing to co-operate with a judicial inquiry.
Van Der Merwe said 200 pages of the 355-page report consisted of evidence solely collated by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
“The version in the report is that of those witnesses called by the Public Protector.”
He added that the next move was to wait for the appointment of a judge.
“This process is not for us to participate in. Treasury must give funding for a judge to appoint a team to assist in an inquiry.”
Van der Merwe added that he was concerned with timeframes, saying it took Madonsela seven months to compile her report. He said this would however not concern the Gupta family.
“We will participate and do so comprehensively.”
Van der Merwe said that as far he was aware, the Gupta family was in the country and that they had read the report until the late evening on Wednesday.
“We will prepare for the allegations and that is what we concentrate on. The family are not implicated in any wrongdoing. The report says allegations of wrongdoing [should] be investigated.”
Van der Merwe said a judge would have to investigate any allegations.
“We want an opportunity to put our version through. I am working through the report and making notes on issues that may raise questions. I will prepare our documents, witnesses and versions going forward.”
He concluded the interview saying the report did not require the Gupta family “to do anything until a judge calls on us to participate in any inquiry”.