JOHANNESBURG, September 28 – Head of the state capture commission of inquiry, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Friday admitted the Gupta-leaks emails as evidence before the inquiry.
The leaked Gupta emails opened a can of worms as it reportedly showed the extent of state capture at key public institutions, most notably state-owned enterprises. The data has been cloned and the commission is in possession of the copies as well as the original hard drive.
”Having read the papers and heard arguments, and affidavit given to me in chambers in confidence, the data referred to as HDDH data on a hard drive is received as evidence before this commission. The data referred to as HDDH1 and HDDH2, which have been forensically imaged from HDDH onto two further hard drives are received as evidence before this commission,” Zondo said.
”No one outside of the commission shall have access to HDDH data until it is presented by the legal team of the commission at a hearing. Should any specific person or party wish to have access to HDDH, H1, H2, before the time specified above, the leave of this commission may be sought.”
The Gupta emails originated from two whistleblowers, named only as ‘Stan and ‘John’ and who cannot be named and have since left the country for safety reasons. They cautiously sought lawyer and mediator Brian Currin’s help to get the information public. They believed that the 300,000 emails, a communication trail between the Guptas and their associates, showed that there was an allegedly corrupt relationship involving the Gupta brothers, former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane, some Cabinet ministers and certain CEOs of state-owned enterprises.
Currin testified how secret ”cloak and dagger” meetings were held in South Africa and abroad with the whistleblowers who feared for their lives but wanted the explosive information in their hands to come out.
Affidavits by Stan and John were drawn up and locked away at Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys’ offices. Authorities in the UK and the US also sought access to the emails as they investigated the controversial Gupta family’s businesses, bank accounts and properties. Some of the Gupta relatives live in the US.
In South Africa, investigative journalists last year began to sift through the thousands of emails and pieced together the state capture debacle, placing the Guptas at the centre of the allegations. The family has since left the country for Dubai, UAE.
The Zondo-led commission will resume next week with Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene expected to testify.
– African News Agency (ANA)