No spe­cial treat­ment

In­quiry chair Zondo de­nies Gup­tas leave to cross-ex­am­ine wit­nesses

The Witness - - NEWS -

THE chair­per­son of the ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture, Deputy Chief Jus­tice Ray­mond Zondo, has de­nied the Gupta broth­ers leave to cros­sex­am­ine wit­nesses.

Ajay and Ra­jesh Gupta had ap­plied to cross-ex­am­ine for­mer deputy min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas, for­mer GCIS head Themba Maseko and for­mer ANC MP Vytjie Men­tor.

He said the Gup­tas had no valid rea­son not to ap­pear be­fore the com­mis­sion, and de­nied their re­quest for the com­mis­sion to travel abroad to hear their tes­ti­mony.

He also de­nied their re­quest to tes­tify via vide­olink.

“If the com­mis­sion does not hear the side of the Gupta broth­ers it will not be be­cause of the com­mis­sion but that they de­cided to turn their backs on South Africa,” Zondo said.

He added that the com­mis­sion does not see any rea­son to give the Gupta broth­ers any spe­cial treat­ment and will not do so. Zondo said he would con­sider the Gupta broth­ers’ re­quest if they were will­ing to re­turn to the coun­try.

Zondo, how­ever, granted for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma leave to cross-ex­am­ine Jonas. Zondo handed down his rul­ing yes­ter­day in Park­town, Jo­han­nes­burg.

Pre­vi­ously, Zondo ex­pressed con­cern over the Gupta broth­ers’ ap­pli­ca­tions to cross-ex­am­ine wit­nesses, while not be­ing present in South Africa them­selves.

He raised this is­sue again yes­ter­day while hand­ing down his rul­ing.

This, af­ter ad­vo­cate Mike Hel­lens, SC, for Ajay Gupta, said his client was will­ing to tes­tify and wanted to cross-ex­am­ine wit­nesses from a lo­ca­tion out­side of the coun­try.

Hel­lens said the com­mis­sion doesn’t

have to send a “car­a­van” to Dubai, one rep­re­sen­ta­tive could go.

He claimed the Gupta broth­ers were wor­ried about pos­si­bly be­ing ar­rested if they re­turned to South Africa, la­belling the Hawks and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) as “reck­lessly in­com­pe­tent and a na­tional em­bar­rass­ment”.

Hel­lens also told the com­mis­sion that Ajay Gupta has a “pow­er­fully con­trary ver­sion” to Men­tor’s ver­sion of events, that might not be put be­fore the com­mis­sion.

Men­tor told the com­mis­sion that Ajay Gupta had of­fered her the job of Pub­lic En­ter­prises min­is­ter if she in turn would drop the SAA Jo­han­nes­burg to Mumbai route so that a Gupta-linked com­pany, Jet Air­ways, could ben­e­fit.

She said Ajay told her that there was a planned reshuf­fle by Zuma and he was

go­ing to fire Bar­bara Ho­gan, who was the in­cum­bent.

For­mer deputy Fi­nance min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas also claimed the Gup­tas of­fered him R600 mil­lion if he ac­cepted the Fi­nance min­is­ter post.

PHOTO: FILE

Chair­per­son of the ju­di­cial com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture, Deputy Chief Jus­tice Ray­mond Zondo, has slammed broth­ers Ajay (left) and Atul Gupta over their bid to cross-ex­am­ine wit­nesses from out­side the coun­try.

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