Zondo dismisses Gupta application to remotely cross-examine former minister Manuel

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JOHANNESBURG, January 29 – Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who is presiding over an inquiry into state capture, on Tuesday dismissed an application by fugitive Ajay Gupta  to cross examine former minister Trevor Manuel over the appointment of Fikile Mbalula as sports minister.

Gupta received notification from the state capture commission that he could be implicated by Manuel’s allegation that he interfered in the appointment of Mbalula by former president Jacob Zuma.

Advocate Mike Hellens, representing the Gupta family which has denied having a corrupt relationship with Zuma, told Zondo that Ajay ”only congratulated” Mbalula on his appointment.

But with the family still refusing to return to South Africa to formally give their version of events, Zondo dismissed Hellens’ application to cross examine Manuel from a remote location. Zondo had previously ruled that the family should appear in person in order to participate in the commission.

”There is no basis to grant Mr Ajay Gupta leave to cross examine because the hurdle that stood in the way remains. The application is dismissed,” he said.

Manuel is expected to testify on the Guptas’ interference in the appointment of Zuma’s cabinet, focusing on Mbalula’s appointment in 2010.  Manuel alleged that a tearful Mbalula told the governing African National Congress’s National Executive Committee that Atul had informed him he would be appointed sports minister.  Mbalula is now ANC head of elections.

The former chief operating officer of Bosasa, Angelo Agrizzi is due to wrap up his testimony before the state capture commission, following days of explosive testimony which implicated top government officials, Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson and other company executives, former SAA board chairwoman Dudu Myeni and Zuma in bribes for tenders.

Agrizzi has revealed a web of corruption spanning over 10 years and multi-million rand cash bribes to ensure that Bosasa won lucrative state contracts. (ANA)