Ajay denies he met Jonas

Gupta family patriarch Ajay has denied ever meeting with former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, saying he has witnesses who would say he was at the Oakbay offices in Sandton when the meeting was supposed to have happened.

This is according to an affidavit — stamped September 2 2018 —submitted to the state capture commission to support Ajay Gupta’s application to cross-examine Jonas. The application was refused last week by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the commission’s chair, because of Ajay Gupta’s unwillingness to return to South Africa to deliver his own testimony.

In the affidavit, sent to the commission from Dubai, Gupta said he had told former public protector Thuli Madonsela as much in a “superficial” interview conducted for her State of Capture report on October 4 2016.

“I also tendered my cellphone records to the public protector,” Gupta said.

But on Thursday speaking to the Mail & Guardian Madonsela said, while Jonas had tendered his cellphone records, Gupta had not.

In the affidavit, Gupta also denied the “belated allegation” made by Jonas at the commission that he threatened to kill Jonas.

Jonas made the bombshell allegation in his testimony before the commission in August.

His testimony related to an alleged clandestine meeting at the Gupta compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, during which Jonas said he was offered the position of finance minister and a bribe of R600‑million in exchange for his co-operation in Gupta business affairs.

“At the end of the meeting, Mr Gupta repeated that they had information on me and if I suggested that the meeting had occurred, they would kill me,” Jonas told the commission.

But Gupta said this allegation was made “for the first time ever” at the commission. “In his version to the public protector he never made such claims, even when he was specifically questioned about any threats,” said Gupta.

Madonsela said she could not recall whether, when she interviewed Jonas, he had referred to death threats.

Gupta added that Jonas gave a false description of the layout of the Gupta compound. 

Jonas said Gupta had “dragged” him into his bar. But Gupta said: “I point out that there is no bar area on the level where the lounge is situated as alleged by Mr Jonas.”

Gupta also contends that his identity was introduced to Jonas during his testimony “by way of a leading question”, leading Jonas to conclude that he had met with Ajay Gupta and not with anybody else.

During his testimony Jonas admitted that he could not exclude “the possibility that it might have been Mr Rajesh Gupta” whom he had met.

Ajay Gupta denied knowing controversial arms deal adviser Fana Hlongwane “at all at the time”. Jonas has claimed Hlongwane and former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane were at the meeting.

“I knew of him and was aware that he and Duduzane were friends. I had no business with them with regard to any meeting they planned,” he said.

Gupta concludes that in his view Jonas has “either by his own devising or by the devising of others, been put up to paint a false picture of me”.

Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.
Advertisting

Hosni Mubarak is dead, but the Egypt he built is...

Despite the efforts of the Arab Spring, Egypt is still led by a military dictatorship made in Mubarak’s image

Inside the Security Branch: Torture between brandy and boerewors

A former SB operative, Paul Erasmus, talks about the torture of a young trade unionist, Neil Aggett, and the machinations at John Vorster Square
Advertising

Press Releases

South Africa’s education system is broken and unequal, and must be fixed without further delay

The Amnesty International report found that the South African government continues to miss its own education upgrading targets

Business travel industry generates billions

Meetings Africa is ready to take advantage of this lucrative opportunity

Conferences connect people to ideas

The World Expo and Meetings Africa are all about stimulating innovation – and income

SAB Zenzele Kabili B-BBEE share scheme

New scheme to be launched following the biggest B-BBEE FMCG payout in South Africa’s history

TFSAs are the gymnasts of the retirement savings world

The idea is to get South Africans to save, but it's best to do your research first to find out if a TFSA is really suited to your needs

Achieving the litmus test of social relevance

The HSS Awards honours scholarly works based on their social relevance and contribution to the humanities and social sciences

Making sense of tax-free savings and investment

Have you made the most of your tax-free investment contributions?

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.