South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday, welcomed the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) taking action against the politically connected Gupta brothers after they were served with a summons to preserve assists worth about R1.6 billion.
“This is not as not as a result of [national director of public prosecutions (NDPP)] Shaun Abrahams, who tried to stall, but as a result of pressure and hard work of the AFU team under Adv. Knox Molelle,” the DA’s Glynnis Breytenbach said.
“The DA has doggedly pursued those suspected of being involved in the project of State Capture with a number of us laying criminal charges against key individuals, which we trust assisted the Hawks and now the NPA in their investigations and decision to pursue the Gupta’s albeit rather delayed.”
On Monday, City Press reported that the AFU was going after the Gupta family and their associates, and was set to serve a summons on them on Tuesday morning, to preserve assets of theirs worth in the region of R1.6 billion.
According to the report, the AFU applied for three separate orders at the high court in Pretoria as well as the high court in Bloemfontein in December, and the ex parte applications seeking orders to preserve the Guptas’ assets were granted.
The application was brought in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which allows assets of defendants in criminal cases – or people who have yet to be criminally charged – to be preserved pending the outcome of their prosecution, the City Press reported.
Breytenbach said that in September 2017, the DA’s Natasha Mazzone laid criminal charges of fraud, racketeering and collusion against global consultancy firm, McKinsey, in terms of Section 21 of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act. This came after it appeared that McKinsey allegedly ignored warnings from senior South African staff members, that the deals done with Trillian, Eskom and other Gupta-linked companies were not above board.
“This preservation order, to be served tomorrow [on Tuesday], is only the first step in holding those responsible for looting the people’s money and we expect to see other such action against the President’s son, Duduzane Zuma, and the President himself so that they can be held accountable for their role in State Capture,” Breytenbach said.c
According to a different City Press report, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as the Hawks) obtained warrants for the arrest of at least one of the Gupta brothers. The unit is now waiting for NPA prosecutors to sign off the warrants so that the arrests can be effected.
A magistrate had issued warrants of arrest for at least one of the Gupta brothers as well as an undisclosed number of the family’s associate, but, he was unable to say which of the brothers face arrest or reveal the identity of their associates in the Hawks’ sights, the City Press reported.
The Gupta brothers include elder brother Ajay, as well as Atul, and the younger brother Rajesh, also known as Tony.
– African News Agency (ANA)