HAWKS RAMP UP PROBE OF GUP­TAS

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the elite po­lice unit into state cap­ture is in­ten­si­fy­ing, with the pres­i­dent’s son and for­mer Eskom CEO Brian Molefe not es­cap­ing scru­tiny

CityPress - - News - ABRAM MASHEGO and SIPHO MASONDO sipho.masondo@city­press.co.za abram.mashego@city­press.co.za

Law en­force­ment agen­cies are in­ten­si­fy­ing four in­ves­ti­ga­tions into al­le­ga­tions that the family moved bil­lions of rands out of South Africa. But it is not only the Gup­tas who find them­selves un­der scru­tiny by the Hawks’ Se­ri­ous Cor­rup­tion In­ves­ti­ga­tion unit. City Press has also ob­tained doc­u­ments show­ing that the Hawks are in­ves­ti­gat­ing for­mer Eskom chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) Brian Molefe, and Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s son Duduzane.

A tranche of doc­u­ments de­tail­ing the sta­tus and progress of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions show that Hawks’ detectives have:

Ob­tained de­tailed bank state­ments from Molefe and his “pro­file” to es­tab­lish if he re­ceived any “kick­backs” from the Gupta family or their busi­nesses;

Ob­tained de­tailed state­ments of seven Gupta-owned com­pa­nies for ex­pert anal­y­sis;

In­ter­viewed Eskom’s head of pro­cure­ment;

Ap­proached Trea­sury to re­quest as­sis­tance with in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to Tegeta Ex­plo­ration, the family’s min­ing com­pany;

For­warded in­for­ma­tion to pros­e­cu­tors re­gard­ing al­le­ga­tions that the Gup­tas of­fered for­mer deputy fi­nance min­is­ter Mcebesi Jonas the job of his boss, and al­legedly of­fered him a R600 mil­lion bribe; and

Had lit­tle suc­cess in con­vinc­ing for­mer ANC MP Vytjie Men­tor to co­op­er­ate with their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her al­le­ga­tions that the Gup­tas of­fered her the job of pub­lic en­ter­prises min­is­ter if she would as­sist their air­line in se­cur­ing a lu­cra­tive route.

Of Brian Molefe, one of the re­ports states: “A Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Cen­tre (FIC) re­quest was made on the CEO of Eskom Mr Brian Molefe in or­der to es­tab­lish his fi­nan­cial pro­file on whether there was any kick­back to him or any other mem­ber of his family paid by the mem­bers of the Gupta family.

“The Gupta com­pa­nies from which the unit re­quested fi­nan­cial state­ments in­clude: Tegeta Ex­plo­ration, Shiva Uranium, JIC Min­ing Ser­vices, Op­ti­mum Coal, TNA Me­dia, Sa­hara Com­put­ers and the Koorn­fontein Coal Mine.”

The re­ports are marked “se­cret” and ti­tled “Task Team In­ves­ti­ga­tions: Pre-State Cap­ture Re­port” and “Task Team In­ves­ti­ga­tions: Post-State Cap­ture Re­port”, re­fer­ring to for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s State of Cap­ture re­port.

The charges be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, how­ever, do not re­late to Madon­sela’s re­port, but from charges laid by sev­eral politi­cians, in­clud­ing the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers’ Floyd Shivambu, the DA’s Natasha Maz­zone and David Maynier, the Congress of the Peo­ple’s Den­nis Bloem, and Men­tor.

The doc­u­ments also state that in­ves­ti­ga­tors have en­coun­tered re­sis­tance and re­ceived lit­tle co­op­er­a­tion from wit­nesses. Ac­cord­ing to the re­ports, in­ves­ti­ga­tors have had to re­sort to re­quest­ing Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete’s in­ter­ven­tion be­cause some re­luc­tant wit­nesses are mem­bers of Par­lia­ment.

City Press has also learnt that all state cap­ture-re­lated in­ves­ti­ga­tions have been re­moved from dif­fer­ent po­lice sta­tions around the coun­try – in­clud­ing from Cape Town, Rand­burg and Rose­bank – and con­sol­i­dated at the Hawks’ head of­fice in Sil­ver­ton, Pre­to­ria.

One of the re­ports in­di­cates that a Hawks de­tec­tive strug­gled to get Men­tor to tell him the ex­act dates, times and itin­er­ary of her trip to Johannesburg to meet Zuma, dur­ing which she landed up at the Gup­tas’ Sax­on­wold com­pound. The de­tec­tive asked for de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about the car that picked her up from the air­port, a copy of her in­vi­ta­tion let­ter from the pres­i­dency, names of those present in the meet­ings she at­tended, and who said what.

“All the above-men­tioned in­for­ma­tion [was] re­quested from Ms Men­tor on sev­eral oc­ca­sions and she failed to pro­vide such. She was given more than one chance to make the in­for­ma­tion avail­able, with­out suc­cess,” said a ju­nior de­tec­tive on the case.

Hawks spokesper­son Hang­wani Mu­laudzi re­fused to com­ment on the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, say­ing “we do not con­duct our in­ves­ti­ga­tions via the me­dia”.

HAWKS PUT PRES­SURE ON THE FIC

City Press has es­tab­lished that last week, the Hawks asked the FIC to pro­vide the unit with de­tailed and spe­cific in­for­ma­tion about the Gupta family’s al­leged sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions.

This took place at a meet­ing in Pre­to­ria on May 23 – be­fore the news of the #Gup­taLeaks email scan­dal broke. Present at the meet­ing were of­fi­cials from the SA Re­serve Bank (Sarb), the FIC and the Hawks. They met to dis­cuss the FIC’s cer­tifi­cate, at­tached to the court ap­pli­ca­tion brought by then fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han, seek­ing con­fir­ma­tion that he could not in­ter­fere with the coun­try’s banks that closed the Gup­tas’ bank ac­counts. The re­port showed 72 sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions to­talling more than R6 bil­lion.

City Press has learnt that, dur­ing the meet­ing, the Hawks re­quested the FIC of­fi­cials to pro­vide de­tails be­cause it was too vague to act upon.

A se­nior Hawks of­fi­cial privy to the meet­ing said: “There was a meet­ing that was held at the Re­serve Bank last week. We wanted to know if the money even­tu­ally left the coun­try. We re­ally wanted to know if the money went out or not.”

An­other se­nior Hawks of­fi­cer, who was part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion team when the Gupta case was ini­ti­ated, said “pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions have been con­ducted”.

“The FIC re­port must tell you which trans­ac­tions, oth­er­wise you could be look­ing at 1 000 or 2 000 trans­ac­tions and you wouldn’t know which ones are sus­pi­cious,” he said.

“They are the ones who must tell us which ones are sus­pi­cious, oth­er­wise you could be look­ing for a nee­dle in a haystack. With­out them say­ing this is sus­pi­cious, these are the dates, you can’t do any­thing.”

He also re­vealed that there had been ten­sions be­tween the Hawks and the FIC.

“Their re­ac­tion at the time was, ‘Look, we can’t help you.’ And we said to them, ‘You can’t say we can’t help you.’” A source close to the FIC said that the agen­cies were now work­ing the cases to­gether.

A se­nior law en­force­ment of­fi­cer with knowl­edge of the FIC re­port said col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion on the Gupta ac­counts “was a highly sen­si­tive ex­er­cise that was as­signed to spe­cific in­di­vid­u­als. It was strictly con­trolled and very few peo­ple wanted to deal with it.”

He said the FIC had flagged nu­mer­ous of the Gupta family’s fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions, amount­ing to bil­lions of rands, as money laun­der­ing.

“These were com­plex trans­ac­tions, in­clud­ing loans be­tween com­pa­nies in the Oakbay Re­sources group and oth­ers over­seas. The FIC doesn’t in­ves­ti­gate, as such, they for­warded the in­for­ma­tion to the Hawks and Sarb.”

Two other sources in govern­ment fi­nance said Sarb had fin­ished com­pil­ing a re­port on the trans­ac­tions.

“I doubt the re­port will ever see the light of day. Not only is it a con­tro­ver­sial re­port, but both the FIC and the Re­serve Bank are highly se­cre­tive in­sti­tu­tions,” the of­fi­cial said.

Sarb spokesper­son Jab­u­lani Sikhakhane de­clined to com­ment, say­ing “the Re­serve Bank does not com­ment on meet­ings that may or may not have taken place”.

Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity spokesper­son Lu­vuyo Mfaku said one docket con­tain­ing a Gupta probe was re­ferred back to the Hawks for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Gup­tas’ lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, did not re­spond to calls and SMSes sent to him yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

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