[Archives] State capture: The eight big cheeses who must be grilled

NEWS ANALYSIS

If the ANC is calling people to account about the Gupta leaks revelations, these are the four ministers and four state entity managers we think will have the toughest questions to answer.

Mosebenzi Zwane
Mineral Resources Minister

The Gupta leaks emails suggest that Mosebenzi Zwane travelled to Switzerland with the Gupta family to help them buy Optimum Coal mine. Zwane has told Parliament, both before the leaks and since, that this was not the case. Misleading Parliament can come with jail time for fraud.

The emails also show that Zwane, as Free State MEC for agriculture, supported a diary project there that appeared to channel provincial subsidies to the Guptas. The family later funded his tour of India, a benefit that could amount to corruption.

Zwane has not commented on the dairy (which collapsed) and India allegations, and could not be reached for comment.

Malusi Gigaba
Finance Minister

Malusi Gigaba maintains that he did everything by the book, but the leaked emails paint a worrying picture of how he, while minister of home affairs, seemingly did a lot to help the Guptas get what they wanted.

Key here is his signature on an early citizenship application for several members of the Gupta family – and whether he had satisfied himself that the Guptas had made a legal application to the Indian government to renounce their citizenship. India does not allow for dual citizenship.

But it is Gigaba’s decisions in his previous job as minister of public enterprises that must be investigated to clear him of suggestions of wrongdoing. Under his watch, the Gupta empire succeeded in having their cronies appointed to the boards of state-owned enterprises that allowed them to feed off multibillion-rand deals.

If there is evidence that Gigaba received or even sought something in return, he could be in trouble.

Faith Muthambi
Public Service Minister

If ever there was a clear-cut case for an immediate criminal investigation, it involves former communications minister Faith Muthambi sharing confidential Cabinet documents with the Guptas.

She allegedly sent the Guptas confidential information about Cabinet meetings, the leaked emails show. Worse, she also forwarded them a copy of a presidential proclamation detailing her powers as communications minister even before President Jacob Zuma had signed the document.

If existing evidence against her stands up in court, Muthambi could be prosecuted in terms of the Protection of Information Act. If she is found to have committed a crime, she could receive a jail sentence.

Muthambi’s cushy relationship with the Guptas is further entrenched by the nearly R1-million in sponsorship her department gave Gupta-owned newspaper The New Age.

She is now the minister of public service and administration.

Des van Rooyen
Co-operative Governance Minister

Des van Rooyen has previously denied that the Gupta family paid for his brief jaunt to Dubai in late 2015; the Gupta leaks emails seem to show the family did exactly that.

The trip could amount to a corrupt benefit if there had been an expectation of reciprocity. The emails have so far not yielded evidence that Van Rooyen offered the family any direct favours in return, but seem to show that advisers reporting directly to him shared confidential government information with the Gupta empire during his brief stint as finance minister.

Van Rooyen has previously refused to comment on allegations drawn from the emails and could not be reached for comment.

Daniel Mantsha
Denel chairperson

Emails suggest that Daniel Mantsha on more than one occasion directly furnished the Gupta family empire with highly confidential information about Denel, in breach of secrecy obligations.

He also sent the family personal bills, which suggests he sought (if not actually received) benefit, which could amount to corruption.

To add insult to injury, the emails suggest Mantsha was intimately aware of the Gupta family’s involvement in the planned Denel Asia subsidiary – even when his board denied such involvement time and again.

Mantsha has not commented on the allegations and could not be reached for comment.

Matshela Koko
(Suspended) Eskom executive

Matshela Koko “agreed” to go on leave while investigations continue into more than R1‑billion that flowed from the Eskom division he headed to a company of which his stepdaughter was a director.

As yet, the Gupta leaks have provided no evidence about those transactions. But the emails do suggest that Koko, or someone pretending to be him, shared confidential Eskom information with the Guptas and that he was treated to a luxury Dubai trip at the family’s expense, a benefit that could be found to be corrupt.

Koko has previously insisted he acted properly with regard to his stepdaughter. He has not commented on the Gupta leaks allegations and could not be reached for comment.

Bruce Koloane
Ambassador to the Netherlands

He was billed as the fall guy for the Gupta family’s illegal landing of an aircraft filled with wedding guests at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013. Then he bagged a diplomatic post to the Netherlands.

In the Gupta leaks revelations, Bruce Koloane was found to have written the family emails asking for sponsorships for personal events – and, as the emails seemingly show, instructions were issued that he was to be given “whatever he wants”.

If investigators find a link between Koloane’s request for sponsorship and any favours he may have done for the Guptas, he should be deeply concerned.

Koloane could not immediately be reached for comment.

Anoj Singh
Eskom/Transnet executive

Courtesy of the generous Guptas, Anoj Singh enjoyed four trips to Dubai and spa treatments at a five-star hotel, the Gupta leaks suggest. He previously served as chief financial officer under Brian Molefe at Transnet and then at Eskom.

The two parastatals have proven to be big money-spinners for the Gupta family’s network of companies.

A police docket has been opened into how the Guptas scored just over R5‑billion from a Transnet contract for new locomotives, amid an Economic Freedom Fighters dossier showing that Transnet had allegedly paid inflated prices for them.

Once Singh moved to Eskom, it appears that the Guptas hit pay dirt in the coal business too. Singh, as chief financial officer, must have been privy to the family’s bid to buy the Optimum Coal mine – and, as they were short of cash, Eskom authorised a controversial prepayment for coal supply to them that enabled Gupta company Tegeta to buy the mine.

Singh could not be reached for comment.

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Jessica Bezuidenhout
Jessica Bezuidenhout joined the Mail & Guardian as an investigative reporter in March 2016 after 20 years at the Sunday Times working on news and investigations. She has been the joint winner of several local and international journalism awards, including Nat Nakasa, Mondi, Vodacom regional journalist of the year and Misa, and runner-up for the 2003 Natali Prize.
Phillip De Wet
Guest Author

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