JOHANNESBURG – Banking officials who closed the Gupta family’s accounts at the height of state capture allegations will get to give their side of the story before the commission of inquiry on Monday.
The inquiry, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, is peeling away at various allegations that the Gupta family, with the help of former President Jacob Zuma, was involved in corruption and had undue influence on crucial decisions, such as the appointment of ministers.
South Africa’s major banks terminated the accounts of companies controlled by the Gupta family following serious allegations against them, many of which were exposed during the “Gupta leaks” emails.
Together with online news site the Daily Maverick, amaBhungane in June 2017 released leaked emails and documents that they said showed allegedly improper dealings in government contracts and influence peddling by the Guptas.
Zuma and the Gupta family, which has said the emails were fake, have denied wrongdoing.
At the time, amaBhungane co-founder, Stefaans Brummer, said amaBhungane, which was founded in 2010, had spent several years probing Zuma’s family business dealings and had verified the authenticity of the leaked documents.
“Our very first stories as amaBhungane was a series called ‘Zuma Inc’ and we looked at the Zuma family and how its business fortunes had grown since Zuma took the office of president,” Brummer said.
He said the Gupta name popped up in several of amaBhungane’s inquiries into Zuma’s family business links and the organization was well placed to process the trove of information in more than 100,000 emails and documents.
The allegations came after an anti-corruption watchdog report into claims of influence peddling.
The Gupta brothers’ application to cross-examine witnesses at the commission of inquiry was been dismissed last week as they were not prepared to testify in South Africa.