NEWS
30/01/2018 06:18 SAST | Updated 30/01/2018 06:49 SAST

Was The 'Criminal Indictment' Against Guptas, Mosebenzi Zwane Merely A 'Guideline' Compiled By The DA?

It appears as if the "indictment" relied on by the Sunday Times was not compiled by the NPA, and was merely meant as a "guideline".

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - 2 March 2011: Indian businessmen, Ajay Gupta and younger brother Atul Gupta at a one on one interview with Business Day in Johannesburg, South Africa on 2 March 2011 regarding their professional relationships. (Photo by Gallo Images/Business Day/Martin Rhodes)
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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - 2 March 2011: Indian businessmen, Ajay Gupta and younger brother Atul Gupta at a one on one interview with Business Day in Johannesburg, South Africa on 2 March 2011 regarding their professional relationships. (Photo by Gallo Images/Business Day/Martin Rhodes)

An "indictment" against the Gupta brothers and mineral resources minister, possibly used as evidence by the Sunday Times that their arrest was imminent, may not have been an indictment at all, News24 reported. The document was circulated on social media on Monday and was reportedly drafted by the DA's Glynnis Breytenbach. It was given to the Hawks as a "guideline" for their investigation into the Vrede dairy farm.

The Hawks have been investigating allegations that the Vrede dairy project in the Free State, meant to empower small black farmers, had been defrauded of R220-million by the Guptas. Zwane was provincial agriculture minister at the time.

On Sunday, the Sunday Times reported that the Hawks were going to arrest the Guptas and Zwane within a matter of weeks. The Hawks and the NPA strongly denied this, and while it is unclear whether the DA's "indictment" is the one used by the Sunday Times as a source, the document appears to match the paper's reporting.

The Sunday Times story reads:

"Mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane, the three Gupta brothers -- Atul, Rajesh and Ajay -- and their associates will be charged with money laundering in the next few weeks in what will become the first state capture case to be prosecuted... News of the finalised indictment, which is sitting with NPA boss Shaun Abrahams, comes as it emerged this week that the family have been put under surveillance by international law enforcement agencies."

The story goes on to say that according to the "indictment", the Guptas and Zwane will face charges of "money-laundering, assisting others to benefit from unlawful possession of proceeds of unlawful activities".

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told News24 that it could not discuss ongoing investigations.

The NPA said it was still investigating and that there could not be a final indictment. NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told News24 that the document could not have come from the NPA.

"That is not NPA. We are professionals, we don't do stuff like that. It is not NPA," he said.

Breytenbach reportedly said that if the DA's guideline document was the "indictment" relied upon by the Sunday Times, it was not circulated by her party. She said the document was "never given to anybody as an official indictment".

Sunday Times senior investigative reporter Thanduxolo Jika told eNCA on Sunday that the paper stands by its story, and that the paper "has had sight of the indictment" and "numerous sources... close to the investigation".

Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko told News24: "I was just made aware of the [indictment] that has been circulated. I will comment at a later stage."