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Less than six months ago, the Gupta family held a position of such omnipotence they confidently tried to capture the biggest prize of all, South Africa’s Treasury. That they had over-reached was soon evident in what we now know as Nenegate. The Gupta midnight flit to Dubai – where they are now comfortably ensconced in a R448m mansion – has opened up information floodgates. Not completely, though. While there is overwhelming evidence the Gupta family exported huge sums of capital, those who should be responding to the allegations of massive exchange control contraventions are ducking the issue. Their silence is deafening. Are the Guptas still Royal Game – immune from investigation? – Alec Hogg
By Liesl Peyper
Cape Town – National Treasury is facing a transparency test, according to David Maynier, DA spokesperson on finance.
Maynier said he still hasn’t had word on whether the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), which falls under National Treasury, was conducting an investigation into the Gupta family.
“Last month, I wrote to the Director of the Financial Intelligence Centre, Murray Michell, requesting him to investigate the allegations surrounding the Guptas,” he said.
“At that time, there was a grave concern that the Guptas had left South Africa and that their money had illegally followed, or was about to illegally follow, them out of South Africa.”
Maynier said a weekend media report by City Press, alleging that the Gupta family may have purchased a R445m house in Dubai, “reinforces concerns” that the family may have taken assets and vast amounts of cash out of the country.
But the only reply Maynier received from the FIC about the investigation was to say that the matter was being “considered”.
“Even the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, refused to reply to a direct question on this matter during last week’s National Treasury budget vote debate in Parliament,” he said.
In addition, Maynier is also concerned by National Treasury’s failure to avail its performance and expenditure reviews on government entities. These reviews serve to improve the quality of spending by assessing if services are delivered cost-effectively.
Maynier has therefore submitted a so-called PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) request to gain access to these reviews.
“National Treasury claim to have completed 30 performance and expenditure reviews between 2013 and 2016. However, we only find reference to 20 completed performance and expenditure reviews,” he said.
“There is no reason why National Treasury should not make performance and expenditure reviews public.”
The FIC did not yet respond to a request for comment. – Fin24