Sexwale lays state cap­ture blame on Zuma

Damn­ing find­ings in re­port com­piled by ad­vo­cate

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - BALDWIN ND­ABA

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma’s op­po­nents will push for the ANC’s pol­icy con­fer­ence to rub­ber-stamp the de­ci­sion for a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion into state cap­ture.

It is ex­pected that the de­bate on the mat­ter will push Zuma and some of his min­is­ters into a cor­ner.

The pres­i­dent and sev­eral min­is­ters have been ac­cused of shar­ing state in­for­ma­tion with the Gupta fam­ily.

The de­bate will also be a proxy for the bat­tle for the soul of the ANC in the run-up to its elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

The Star un­der­stands that Zuma’s de­trac­tors be­lieve the in­quiry will fur­ther weaken the cam­paign of for­mer AU Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

This comes as ANC heavy­weight and for­mer Gaut­eng premier Tokyo Sexwale yes­ter­day squarely blamed the ram­pant cor­rup­tion in state-owned en­ti­ties on Zuma.

Sexwale’s lat­est in­dict­ment fol­lowed an in­ves­tiga­tive re­port he com­mis­sioned that showed how pub­lic funds had been used to help the Gup­tas buy their min­ing firm, Tegeta.

Sexwale ap­pointed ad­vo­cate Ge­off Budlen­der SC in Novem­ber last year to probe al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion at Tril­lian Cap­i­tal Part­ners af­ter var­i­ous reports in the me­dia im­pli­cated Tril­lian in cor­rup­tion amount­ing to bil­lions of rand.

Budlen­der was asked to probe whether Tril­lian chief ex­ec­u­tive Eric Wood had been aware of Zuma’s in­ten­tion to fire for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Nh­lanhla Nene in De­cem­ber 2015.

In his re­port, Budlen­der found that an il­le­gal pay­ment of more than a quar­ter of a bil­lion rand had been trans­ferred from Eskom into the ac­counts of Tril­lian sub­sidiary com­pa­nies, which al­legedly had not ten­dered for any of the jobs.

Budlen­der also made a sim­i­lar find­ing against Transnet, es­pe­cially its en­gi­neer­ing divi­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to Budlen­der’s find­ings, these funds were al­legedly used to sup­port var­i­ous il­le­gal busi­ness ini­tia­tives of the Gupta fam­ily.

Budlen­der said Tegeta Ex­plo­ration and Re­sources pur­chased con­trol­ling shares in Op­ti­mum Coal Hold­ings “un­der cir­cum­stances of con­sid­er­able con­tro­versy” af­ter Eskom al­legedly im­prop­erly fa­cil­i­tated the deal for the ben­e­fit of Tegeta share­hold­ers.

The Tegeta share­hold­ers are: Gup­tas 29%; 28.53% is owned by Maben­gela In­vest­ment, of which Zuma’s son Duduzane holds 45%; and Ra­jesh Cu­mar Gupta holds 25%.

Two per­cent is owned by Ashu Chawla, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Gup­taowned Sa­hara Com­pany; and 21.5% is owned by El­ga­solve, whose sole di­rec­tor is Salim Aziz Essa. Essa owns all the shares in Tril­lian Hold­ings, which in turn holds 60% of the shares in Tril­lian Cap­i­tal Part­ners.

In his find­ings, Budlen­der found that as the date for the pur­chase of the Tegeta mine drew closer, the min­ing com­pa­nies did not have the funds needed to cover the pur­chase price.

He cor­rob­o­rated for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s find­ings in the State of Cap­ture re­port that be­tween De­cem­ber 11, 2015 and April 14, 2016 more than R2.4 bil­lion was paid into the Bank of Bar­oda’s ac­count for Tegeta’s ben­e­fit.

Budlen­der said he had ques­tioned Tril­lian about this trans­ac­tion, but they failed to re­spond, lead­ing him to con­clude that “there are strong grounds for sus­pect­ing that this money (R2.4bn) was used to as­sist Tegeta to pay for the shares in Op­ti­mum Coal Hold­ings”.

An­other damn­ing find­ing against Tril­lian was the tes­ti­mony of for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Tril­lian Fi­nan­cial Ad­vi­sory (whose name has been with­held), who said Tril­lian chief ex­ec­u­tive Wood had told her that Zuma was go­ing “to fire the min­is­ter of fi­nance”.

Wood has de­nied these al­le­ga­tions, but the whis­tle-blower said that af­ter Nene’s dis­missal on De­cem­ber 8, 2015, she went to Wood’s of­fice and said: “So, you were right,” and he re­sponded: “Of course I was.”

The whis­tle-blower also said Wood had told him that Mo­hammed Bo­bat would be new fi­nance min­is­ter Des van Rooyen’s ad­viser.

All these ob­ser­va­tions prompted Sexwale to in­sist that Zuma had played a piv­otal role in the al­leged state cap­ture by the Gup­tas. He said Zuma’s ac­tions had di­vided the ANC.

Zuma’s spokesper­son, Bon­gani Ngqu­lunga, was not avail­able for com­ment at the time of pub­li­ca­tion.

How­ever, Tril­lian has cried foul about the lat­est re­port, say­ing they had not been given the op­por­tu­nity to re­spond.

“Once Tril­lian has had an op­por­tu­nity to con­sider the con­tents of the re­port, it will re­lease its own com­pre­hen­sive re­sponse,” the com­pany said.

Pres­i­dent’s ac­tions di­vided the ANC

PIC­TURE: ITUMELENG ENGLISH

ANC heavy­weight Tokyo Sexwale has ac­cused Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma of be­ing a key fig­ure in the al­leged state cap­ture by the Gup­tas.

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