Ajay Gupta denied meeting ex-deputy minister Jonas


JOHANNESBURG, September 21 – Ajay Gupta has denied meeting former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas at the Saxonwold compound three years ago, saying he was at the family’s Oakbay Investments offices in Sandton on the day.

Jonas alleged that Gupta offered him a finance minister post and a R600 million bribe in the presence of former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and businessman Fana Hlongwane. Gupta, whose family and their associates are at the centre of state capture allegations, filed an affidavit to the commission on Thursday, sent from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

”I can categorically state that I never met with Mr Jonas on the afternoon of 23 October 2015 at no 5 Saxonwold Drive at the Gupta residence, or on any other date, either before or thereafter. I was not even present during that time when an alleged meeting was held between the mentioned role players at the said residence, as I was at the offices at Oakbay in Katherine Street, Sandton,” read his affidavit.

Gupta added that he has proof to support his claim against Jonas.

”[Former Oakbay CEO] Ronica Ragavan and other employees of Oakbay can confirm my alibi and presence at Oakbay office that afternoon. I  also tendered my cell phone records to [former] Public Protector [Thuli Madonsela] when she afforded me a very superficial interview opportunity during 4 October 2016, when I gave evidence of my version of the allegations levelled against me, denying the allegations in answer to the allegations levelled by Mr Jonas against me specifically, to objectively confirm my alibi on that specific afternoon.”

He denied the alleged bribe offer and that he had no prior knowledge that there would be a cabinet reshuffle to replace Nhlanhla Nene. Regarding Duduzane Zuma, Gupta said he knew the former president’s son very well.

”Although I did not know Mr Fana Hlongwane at all at the time, I was aware that he and Duduzane Zuma were friends. I had no business with them with regard to any meeting they planned and arranged with Mr Jonas and each other on that specific day or any other day. I have no knowledge of the subject matter of the meeting they had nor did I inquire about it.”

The family, who have since relocated to Dubai, were refused permission to cross-examine witnesses via video link.

The controversial family have vowed not to return to South Africa.

Commission chairman Deputy Chief Justice Zondo said the Guptas were probably afraid of being arrested should they set foot in the country, adding that there will be no special treatment for the fugitive family.

The Gupta brothers, Ajay, Atul, Rajesh, and their associates have allegedly raked in billions of rands through illegal contracts and wielded so much power that they even summoned ANC leaders to their Saxonwold compound to receive instructions. The family enjoyed a close relationship with former president Zuma.

– African News Agency (ANA)