NEWS

State Capture: Guptas' Tentacles Reach Into Deputy Judge President's Office

Ajay Gupta wanted to 'arrange' a postponement of Brian Molefe's pension payout.

09/11/2017 06:37 SAST | Updated 09/11/2017 06:37 SAST
Netwerk24

The Gupta family's tentacles reach into the deputy judge president's office, MPs heard on Wednesday.

This bombshell revelation was dropped by suspended Eskom legal services head Suzanne Daniels in testimony before the parliamentary inquiry into state capture.

Daniels told the inquiry that during a meeting -- held on July 29 this year, in an apartment close to Melrose Arch in Johannesburg -- Ajay Gupta had said he would speak to someone in the deputy judge president's office to ensure the court case over former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe's R30-million pension pay-out was moved to next year.

Daniels, who was suspended from her post on October 6, said the meeting occurred after she was contacted by Gupta-associate Salim Essa, who had asked her to join him for a cup of coffee.

"I met him at Melrose Arch... and we walked to a [nearby] apartment. As we walked into the lounge area, there were four people whom I was introduced to. [They were] Mr Ajay Gupta, [President Jacob Zuma's son] Mr Duduzane Zuma, deputy [public enterprises] minister Ben Martins, and a Chinese lady whose name I cannot remember."

"At that point I was actually speechless. The purpose of the discussion was around the process of the Molefe court proceedings. Mr Gupta wanted to know how far they were."

Daniels said there was to be a meeting with the deputy judge president (DJP) to discuss when the matter would be set down.

"He [Gupta] then said -- it was very difficult to understand him, because he speaks in a very heavy Indian accent, but the gist was -- he will have to talk to someone in the DJP's office, and to make sure that the hearing takes place after December 2017, so that it could be dealt with then.

"He then mentioned something about Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, but I really couldn't follow what he was saying, partly because I couldn't believe where I was and what I was hearing.," Daniels said.

The ANC's elective conference is set to be held over five days in December, from the 16th to the 20th.

Daniels said after some further "mumbling" she left the apartment.

She later recalled that Ajay Gupta had been dressed in a pair of grey tracksuit pants, a T-shirt and was not wearing any shoes.

In further explosive testimony, Daniels then told MPs that on March 9, 2015, she had accompanied now suspended Eskom executive Matshela Koko to a meeting with Essa. There she had heard that four senior Eskom executives were going to be suspended.

Daniels was an Eskom senior manager at that point in her career.

At the meeting, Essa had asked her about Eskom disciplinary procedures

"He asked me what needs to be done if you want to suspend people. I told him you would have to have a valid reason, and would have to give them a chance to respond.

"He then proceeded -- in the presence of Koko -- to sketch out to me what was going to be happening in the next couple of days.

"He told me that [CEO Tshediso] Matone, [financial director Tsholofelo] Molefe, [group capital executive Dan] Marokane and Koko would be suspended, and that there would be an investigation into Eskom. And the board would communicate this in due course.

"Little did I know that this would happen [the day after next]," she said.

Daniles also told the inquiry that she had received death threats, and believed her phone was tapped.

MPs were outraged by the revelations

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, who serves as an ordinary ANC MP on the public enterprises portfolio committee which is conducting the inquiry, suggested the committee write to the DJP's office "so that they are aware of this"