Public protector Thuli Madonsela has enlisted the services of the country’s top auditing firm PwC to help her office investigate allegations of state capture by, among others, the politically-connected Gupta family, the Mail & Guardian has learned.
This comes few weeks after Madonsela’s office received a R1.5-million funding commitment from the treasury. Madonsela had earlier said that her office needed about R3-million to be able to conduct a comprehensive investigation into state capture allegations.
The probe reportedly followed requests from the Dominican Order of Catholic priests and the Democratic Alliance for Madonsela to investigate allegations of state capture. Her office confirmed to the Mail & Guardian on Monday that the office has enlisted a number of advisory firms to help with the investigation but refused to name the firms citing security concerns.
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However, the M&G has reliably learned that one of the advisory firms tasked with the mandate to help Madonsela uncover the extent of state capture is PwC.
Madonsela’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said the public protector was approached by the “Dominican Order to investigate whether Deputy Finance Minister Mr Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Ms Vytjie Mentor were offered Cabinet positions by the Guptas, whether the appointment of Minister Des Van Rooyen was known beforehand by the Gupta family and whether two senior advisors with links to the Gupta family were appointed to the treasury alongside Mr Van Rooyen, without following proper procedures.”
Segalwe said the Dominican Order further requested the public protector to look into tenders or state contracts, mining licenses and advertisements in The New Age newspaper; to investigate allegations of state capture by and all Gupta family’s business dealings with the state to establish whether there has been any corruption or improper conduct.
The DA is said to have also approached Madonsela to look into suspected breaches of Parliament’s Executive Ethics Code by President Jacob Zuma in relation to Cabinet appointments “in reference to claims by Mr Jonas, and Ms Mentor, that they were offered executive positions by members of the Gupta family in exchange for favourable executive decisions and beneficial business interests”.
Jonas and Mentor have come out publicly in the past few months claiming they were approached by the Gupta family and offered ministerial positions. Jonas said the Guptas offered him the finance minister position to replace Nhlanhla Nene before Van Rooyen was offered the same position.
Mentor alleged that the Gupta family offered her a Cabinet position as enterprise minister in a meeting where Zuma sat in the next room. Zuma has repeatedly defended his relationship with the Guptas, saying there’s nothing “corrupt” about the friendship.