NEWS

The Hawks' Probe Into The Gupta Sun City Wedding Is Part Of A Larger Investigation

The Hawks, are in talks over a broader investigation into the Gupta family.

30/08/2017 17:54 SAST | Updated 30/08/2017 17:54 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

The directorate for priority crimes, the Hawks, are in talk over a broader investigation into the Gupta family.

This comes after the Hawks confirmed that it has initiated an investigation into the Guptas over allegations that public funds were used for a family wedding in Sun City.

Hawks acting head Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata, confirmed the investigation at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance in Parliament.

AmaBhungane and Scorpio revealed in a series of expose how R30m that was supposed to go to a dairy project in Vrede in the Free State was diverted through a web of Gupta-related companies to pay for the wedding, while Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane was still an MEC in the Free State.

'Must be investigated'
The wedding initially gained fame when the Guptas' guests were allowed to use the Waterkloof Air Force base as a port of entry.

DA MP David Maynier then laid criminal charges against Zwane, brothers Atul, Ajay, and Rajesh Gupta, Ronica Ragavan and Kamal Vasram.

The charges included racketeering, money laundering, assisting another to benefit from the proceeds of unlawful activities, and acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds of unlawful activities in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and submitting false, or untrue, tax returns in terms of the Tax Administration Act.

"The fact that public funds, meant to assist the poor, were allegedly used to pay for President Jacob Zuma's number one clients', the Guptas' family wedding is grotesque and must be investigated without fear or favour, by the Hawks," Maynier said.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told News24 that the Gupta investigation must not be construed to a single case. He added that the Hawks were in talks to a broader investigation.

The #GuptaLeaks exposed that the Free State provincial government largely picked up the tab for the wedding.

'Event of the millennium'
KPMG Africa then-chief executive Moses Kgosana, a guest at the wedding, described it as the "event of the millennium", AmaBhungane revealed.

KPMG were also auditors of the Guptas' Linkway Trading (Pty) Ltd, a company which facilitated the diversion of cash earmarked for the Free State's Vrede dairy project to reimburse most of the wedding expenses of R30m.

Gupta niece Vega's wedding to Aakash Jahajgarhia in 2013, dubbed the event of the century, was not without a few glitches.

Sun City reserved 231 rooms exclusively for the wedding, with emails between Sun City and Gupta staff in advance showing that the family had many demands.

Among the requests: the use of fireworks; ice rigs; horses; one waiter for every 10 guests; complimentary laundry services for guests; the right to bring in all food externally.

The problems began shortly after the wedding, with erstwhile Sun City CEO Richard Hawkins emailing Sahara CEO Ashu Chawla on May 13 to explain that the bill preparation was delayed due to "a substantial amount of operating equipment that was signed for by your team which has not been returned".

A meeting took place on May 16, where Chawla and his team were presented with the bill.

They were also informed that they would be liable for over R100 000 worth of damage to the Valley of the Waves pool. Pictures reveal that the sides of the pool appear to have been chipped. It was subsequently agreed that the events company responsible for the wedding, Gearhouse, would settle this from its insurance.

Emails show that what followed was a full 19 months of wrangling over the bill between the Guptas and Sun City.

The jet, carrying at least 200 guests attending the wedding at Sun City, was a cause of huge public outcry. This led to a series of reports surrounding President Jacob Zuma and his ties to the Gupta family. -- News24