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Gupta family request for cross-examination denied

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Gupta family request for cross-examination denied

The deputy justice said he saw no reason why the Guptas could not return to South Africa and give their testimony.

Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry looking into state capture, Deputy Justice Raymond Zondo, has denied Rajesh and Ajay Gupta’s application for leave to cross-examine witnesses.

Zondo, however, granted Duduzane Zuma the opportunity to cross-examine former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas.

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“It seems to me that the issue of this commission travelling overseas to hear their submissions must be rejected”, he said.

Zuma, his father former President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas are considered the central figures in the state capture inquiry. The proceedings are looking into allegations of state capture, fraud and corruption within the public sector.

Last week, the Guptas’ lawyer Advocate Mike Hellens submitted the applications – the only exception would be that they give their testimony via video conference in Dubai.

Hellens told the inquiry on Thursday, 13 September 2018, that due to the Hawks and National Prosecuting Authority’s attitudes towards his client, he sees no need for them to fly back. The Hawks have declared the Guptas fugitives and would pounce on them once they stepped on local soil.

Since the proceedings began last month, the commission has heard a string of allegations further implicating the family and unveiling the extent of their influence on government decisions.

The Gupta brothers had applied to cross-examine several witnesses who took to the stand, including former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, Acting Government Communication Information Systems (GCIS) CEO Phumla Williams, former GCIS head Themba Maseko and former African National Congress (ANC) MP Vytjie Mentor.

Mentor and Jonas, who were one of the first to testify, told the commission of how the Guptas offered them cabinet positions in exchange for making decisions which would favour their business interests.

Williams gave details surrounding the appointment of Mzwanele Manyi, a Gupta family supporter, as GCIS head. The family is said to have influenced the GCIS budget to redirect money into their formerly-owned New Age newspaper, which Manyi bought from them early this year in a vendor financing deal.

Thabo Baloyi
t.baloyi@politicalanalysis.co.za

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