🔒 WORLDVIEW: SA’s very own “Operation Car Wash” gathers momentum

It beggars belief that the most prominent of those fingered in the #GuptaLeaks emails are trying to brazen it out. But their bravado is sure to rapidly evaporate as the evidence mounts.

When the emails first emerged, the noxious Gupta family’s lawyer dismissed them as fake news. That fellow, the previously unknown but now rather prominent small time attorney Gert van der Merwe, has reportedly turned State Witness. So too, as the Sunday newspapers informed us, has former Mines Department DG Jacinto Rocha.

Using the Brett Kebble suicide/murder case as a guide, the law enforcement authorities can expect this trickle to turn into a flood. Once the cops were ready to actually lay charges, pretty much everyone who had been involved in the Kebble death except gangster boss Glenn Aglioti, appeared to have negotiated a deal.

The Gupta private jet left SA on 4 June for their Saharanpur base in northern India. This is their second midnight flit. The first time was in April last year. That time they returned some months later after the dust had settled. This time, their departure is likely to be permanent.

I say this because we are seeing the early signs of South Africa’s equivalent of Lava Jato – the $5bn Brazilian bribery scandal. Investigations that are now three years old have resulted in two dozen people behind bars, including some of Brazil’s most powerful personalities. The bulk of those jailed were senior members of the PT political party, Brazil’s equivalent of the ANC.

Like Zuma and the Guptas, the Brazilians who were fingered once seemed invulnerable – including Chamber of Deputies President, Eduardo Cunha, former Chief of Staff, Jose Dirceu and former Rio de Janeiro governor, Sergio Cabral. They were jailed on charges of corruption and money laundering.

But it isn’t just politicians who are now behind bars. Among the unlikely jailbirds is Marcelo Odebrecht, 48 year old chairman and CEO of Latin America’s largest construction company, the 40,000 employee business started by his grandfather. In 2010, Odebrecht Construction was named by the prestigious IMD university in Switzerland as the world’s best family owned company. Today Marcelo is serving a 19 year jail term.

Apart from that humiliation, in April this year Odebrecht was hit with a $2.6bn fine by a US judge. It would have been even higher had the company not entered a plea bargain admitting to paying $788m in bribes to State officials in 12 countries to secure contracts. Odebrecht has a business in South Africa.

When “Operation Car Wash” began, those implicated including president Dilma Rousseff dismissed the allegations. Rousseff even went on to win a presidential election. But the respite was temporary. She was impeached only months after that triumph. Worse, Rousseff, her successor as president Michel Temer and predecessor Lula da Silva all face criminal charges. Given the mounting evidence, the world may well witness three national presidents all serving time in jail.

What’s been happening in Brazil sends a very powerful message for those similarly implicated in South Africa’s own Lava Jato. Once it’s heard, expect the early Zuptoid turncoats to be followed by a veritable army. There really is nothing more powerful than the truth.