NEWS
19/02/2018 07:30 SAST | Updated 19/02/2018 07:30 SAST

Hawks Warn Against Gupta Capture Rewards

The Hawks are against private rewards offered for information on the Guptas' whereabouts.

Alon Skuy/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Magda Wierzycka, CEO of Sygnia Group, during an interview at her office on January 16, 2018 in Sandton, South Africa.

The Hawks have distanced themselves from attempts by private actors to issue rewards of up to R1-million for information on the whereabouts of the Gupta brothers, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported.

Private investigator Paul O'Sullivan and Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka have offered rewards for anyone who comes forward with information about the Gupta brothers, who are said to be on the run from the police.

Ajay Gupta is apparently being protected by bodyguards in the country, although there are indications that he has left the country.

According to TimesLive, O'Sullivan was the first to issue a reward of R200,000. Wierzycka then offered R300,000, later upping this by another R200,000 for the first bodyguard who alerted the authorities to their whereabouts.

"There are people around them who are protecting them. We are wanting to provide incentives to people who know where they are‚ and to people who are actively helping them‚ to do what is right and turn these guys in.

"While the chances of the Guptas having caught commercial international flights out of South Africa are a low probability‚ the chances of them having used private means to go to places like Swaziland or Lesotho are high. They may still be stuck there.

"This is an appeal to those protecting them and the families of those protecting to them - particularly those of the bodyguards - to do the right thing for the country and turn them in," she told TimesLive.

Another businessman came forward to up the reward by another R400,000.

The Hawks' Hangwani Mulaudzi said the rewards were risky.

"People will be running after money, so if somebody gets hurt, they will have to take responsibility, so that's why we're saying we're not part of it and we'd not want to be part of it," he reportedly said.

On Sunday, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula confirmed that the police are working with Interpol to trace Ajay Gupta and four other suspects, who are in Dubai, China and India, in relation to the Estina dairy farm scam. Eight other suspects appeared in court last week.

He said the Hawks had approached Ajay's lawyer, and that they "have been playing cat-and-mouse going back and forth".

The rewards offered caused some controversy, although Wierzycka reportedly said she had decided to offer one because she wanted to make sure "people did the right thing".