Denel chairman, Dan Mantsha, reportedly gave sensitive information to the Gupta family and asked them to pay some of his personal bills, according to Business Day. Leaked emails reportedly show that Mantsha gave the sensitive information to Gupta associates at a time when Denel was negotiating a joint venture with one of their companies.
The joint venture was between a Denel subsidiary, Denel Asia, and Hong Kong registered VR Laser Asia, owned by Gupta associate Salim Essa. The joint venture never went ahead because Treasury did not approve it, citing concerns about VR Lasia's ability to finance the operation, and the fact that it was owned by politically exposed persons.
Denel went to court to try to force Treasury to give it the green light.
According to the emails, Business Day reported, Mantsha and the Guptas began communicating soon after he was appointed in July 2014.
Mantsha received an email from someone in the Department of Public Enterprises on November 23 2015, advising Denel on how to go about setting up the joint venture. Mantsha reportedly forwarded this email to Ashu Chawla of Sahara, which is one of the Gupta's companies.
Meanwhile, Mantsha reportedly applied to Treasury for approval for the joint venture a day after Des van Rooyen was appointed as finance minister. But Van Rooyen was fired a few days later and did not have time to consider the application.
However, Pravin Gordhan, who replaced him, had concerns about it.
There were reportedly concerns about VR Lasia being newly established without any assets or intellectual property to offer the state-owned entity.
On August 3 2015, Mantsha reportedly sent his municipal rates account of more than R14,000 to Chawla. According to Business Day, the email reads: "Please find the attached document for your urgent attention."
Mantsha reportedly flew first class from Dubai to Johannesburg in October 2015 and the ticket was sent by a travel agent to Chawla with the subject line "Rajesh/Mantsha".
Mantsha did not respond to questions from Business Day. A spokesperson for Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, Colin Cruywagen, reportedly said it would be unwise to comment on emails "of uncertain origin".