CALLS FOR PROBE INTO GUPTA EMAILS

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - MAY­I­BONGWE MAQHINA

CAB­I­NET min­is­ters implicated in the “leaked” emails that de­tail im­proper ac­tions to ad­vance the busi­ness in­ter­ests of the Gupta fam­ily will be sub­jected to scru­tiny by Par­lia­ment’s com­mit­tees.

This is hap­pen­ing as re­sponses by some min­is­ters to the emails, which ex­pose state cap­ture, con­tra­dict what is con­tained in the cor­re­spon­dence in­volv­ing mem­bers of the Gupta fam­ily, govern­ment of­fi­cials and their busi­ness as­so­ci­ates.

Among the mem­bers of the ex­ec­u­tive fea­tured in the emails are Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba, Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Min­is­ter Des van Rooyen, Pub­lic Ser­vice and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Min­is­ter Faith Muthambi, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Ayanda Dlodlo and Min­is­ter of Min­eral Re­sources Mosebenzi Zwane.

Yes­ter­day, Par­lia­ment spokesper­son Moloto Mothapo said port­fo­lio com­mit­tees had been di­rected to ur­gently probe the al­le­ga­tions and re­port back to the Na­tional Assem­bly.

Mothapo said House chair­per­son of com­mit­tees Cedric Frolick had last week writ­ten to the chair­per­sons of port­fo­lio com­mit­tees on Home Af­fairs, Min­eral Re­sources, Pub­lic En­ter­prises and Trans­port.

Frolick, he said, had ad­vised the chair­per­sons to en­sure im­me­di­ate en­gage­ment with the min­is­ters con­cerned so that Par­lia­ment could get to the bot­tom of the al­le­ga­tions.

“While no spe­cific dead­line has been set for the sub­mis­sion of the out­come of these in­ves­ti­ga­tions, the com­mit­tees have been urged to be­gin with the work and re­port their rec­om­men­da­tions to the House ur­gently,” Mothapo said.

“Par­lia­ment, as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive body of the peo­ple of South Africa, shoul­ders the con­sti­tu­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity of en­sur­ing that mat­ters of ma­jor pub­lic in­ter­est are dealt with as ex­pected by the peo­ple.”

The emails are al­ready the sub­ject of a probe by the Direc­torate for Pri­or­ity Crime In­ves­ti­ga­tion and Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane.

The lat­est move by Par­lia­ment comes al­most two weeks af­ter the cab­i­net noted the me­dia re­ports on the “leaked emails” im­pli­cat­ing govern­ment of­fi­cials and other peo­ple in crim­i­nal wrong-do­ing.

The cab­i­net had urged those with in­for­ma­tion of mal­prac­tice by govern­ment of­fi­cials or min­is­ters to in­form law en­force­ment agen­cies.

Mean­while, Zwane has again de­nied that the Gup­tas had flown him to Switzer­land a year ago.

“The trip was or­gan­ised and paid for by the De­part­ment of Min­eral Re­sources,” he said in re­sponse to a par­lia­men­tary ques­tion from Cope’s Mo­siuoa Lekota.

In another ques­tion from Cope’s Wil­lie Madisha, he gave the same re­sponse.

Madisha wanted Zwane to clar­ify him­self in ref­er­ence to his par­lia­men­tary replies last year and “in view of the leaked emails that have been pub­lished in the me­dia re­cently, which in­di­cate that he had trav­elled to Switzer­land with a num­ber of mem­bers of a cer­tain fam­ily…”

He re­it­er­ated his pre­vi­ous par­lia­men­tary replies.

“The min­is­ter and of­fi­cials from the de­part­ment made an of­fi­cial trip as part of his man­date,” he said.

Re­spond­ing to another ques­tion from Lekota about his po­si­tion on al­le­ga­tions that the Gup­tas were in­volved in his ap­point­ment, and his CV had been sent to the fam­ily, Zwane said: “The pres­i­dent ap­points min­is­ters, as­signs their pow­ers and func­tions and may dis­miss them.”

Zwane’s re­sponses are de­spite re­ports from leaked doc­u­ments and emails show­ing that he flew to Switzer­land with the Gup­tas and their as­so­ci­ates in their pri­vate jet.

It has been re­ported that he was booked into a five-star ho­tel paid for by a Gupta com­pany, Sa­hara Com­put­ers, and that he was chauf­feured around in a BMW 7 Se­ries.

When he was asked about his trip to Switzer­land, Zwane stated he had gone there on an of­fi­cial trip.

Sim­i­lar ques­tions were re­cently asked by the Free­dom Front Plus’s An­ton Al­berts, but Zwane has stuck to his guns.

IMPLICATED: Malusi Gi­gaba

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