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JOHANNESBURG — Civil society body OUTA is ramping up its series of criminal charges against key players in the Zupta empire. This time, OUTA is going for the bull’s eye after it laid charges today against President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma as well as the trio of Gupta brothers: Atul, Ajay and Rajesh. OUTA has put together a comprehensive affidavit with names of other key Zupta enablers in government. Now, it’s over to the police, Hawks and NPA. The question is will they investigate? – Gareth van Zyl
This group is the focus: the three Gupta brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh “Tony” Gupta, and Duduzane Zuma, who is the son of President Jacob Zuma.
“They are at the heart of state capture,” says Ben Theron, OUTA Chief Operating Officer.
“These charges are designed for combatting organised crime.”
Racketeering involves an ongoing pattern of crime involving serious crime such as corruption, extortion or fraud.
The charges were laid at Randburg Police Station and are backed up by an affidavit detailing the allegations by OUTA’s Chief Operating Officer, Ben Theron.
“The Gupta family and their associates, at all relevant times, acted severally and jointly in common purpose to perpetrate illegal activities,” says Theron.
The Gupta brothers and Duduzane Zuma together run a substantial business empire that has been widely linked to illegal state capture, benefitting by billions of rand in illegitimate deals through the help of compliant ministers and state officials.
Those named in the affidavit as linked to this group include:
- Jacinto Rocha, a senior official in the Department of Mineral Resources who helped the Guptas and Duduzane gain lucrative mining rights;
- Lakela Kaunda, the Chief Operations Officer in the Presidency who has worked in the Presidency since 2009 and for Zuma since 2000, and was involved in a Gupta attempt to buy Ubank;
- Gloria Bongi Ngema-Zuma, one of the President’s wives: in a hidden transaction, the Guptas helped buy her a R5.4 million house in Waterkloof Ridge in Pretoria;
- Duduzile Zuma, the twin sister of Duduzane and the President’s daughter, who spent 13 months as a director of a Gupta company, appointed when it was clear her father would soon be President;
- Iqbal Sharma, the chair of Transnet’s Acquisitions and Disposals committee when train deals were signed, who shared confidential documents with the Guptas;
- Brian Molefe, former CE of Transnet and then Eskom, a good friend of the Guptas;
- Anoj Singh, former CFO of Transnet and current (suspended) CFO of Eskom, who had paid excursions to Dubai at Gupta expense;
- Mogokare Richard Seleke, Director General of Public Enterprises, the cut-out who passed confidential information from Eskom to the Guptas, inserted himself into state-owned entities’ deals and helped the Guptas buy a coal mine cheaply;
- Mosebenzi Zwane, Minister of Mineral Resources, who helped arrange the Waterkloof wedding landing and cost South Africa about R2 billion which went to the Guptas from a dairy project and the disappearance of two mine rehabilitation trust funds;
- Faith Muthambi, Minister of Public Service and Administration, who, as Minister of Communications, shared confidential Cabinet information with the Guptas and appointed her compliant friend Hlaudi Motsoeneng to help their broadcasting interests;
- Collin Matjila, who served on Eskom’s board and was in business with Gupta associates;
- Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, who made various appointments, including to SOE boards, which were favourable to the Guptas;
- Ben Ngubane, the former chairman of the Eskom board who was in business with Gupta associates;
- Mark Pamensky, an Eskom director who was in business with the Guptas.
OUTA has already laid charges of high treason against Seleke, Zwane and Muthambi.
The Guptas benefitted from numerous high-value deals including getting the enormous R5.3 billion kickback from Transnet’s locomotive deal and a R66 million kickback from Neotel arising from a Transnet deal.
Theron’s affidavit says the incidents described show that:
- The “President improperly used his influence to provide undue assistance to the Guptas from the beginning of his first term in office”;
- That “State patronage of the Gupta family is directly linked to the business interests of Duduzane Zuma”;
- That Duduzane and the Guptas knew about Cabinet reshuffles in advance and could influence these, apparently to promote their business interests;
- Duduzane provides access to his father the President; and
- People who were well-disposed towards the Guptas were appointed to high public office after their CVs were forwarded to Duduzane, such as Mosebenzi Zwane, Richard Seleke and Collin Matjila.
Central to all this is the President’s son.
“It is difficult to imagine an innocent explanation for Duduzane Zuma’s meteoric rise within the Sahara organisation,” says Theron.
“He was first appointed to Sahara’s board of directors on 13 August 2008. At the time, he was only 26 years old and could boast no obvious qualifications.
“Duduzane Zuma was appointed to the board together with his twin sister, Duduzile… their appointments coincided with President Zuma’s election as President of the ANC, and with that election, his assumption of an office that designated him to be President of the Republic in 2009.
“At the age of 35, Duduzane Zuma has amassed a vast fortune. He has multiple business interests many of which involve the Gupta family.”
- OUTA is the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse.