The inquiry into the naturalization of the Gupta family, by Parliament’s Home Affairs committee, will reschedule a meeting with the former Director-General of the department, Mkuseni Apleni. He appeared before the committee but had to leave early to catch a flight. MPs criticised Apleni for not doing due diligence when approving the naturalization of the wealthy family. They want him to explain issues in more depth.
The chairperson of the committee, Hlomani Chauke, says they also need to discuss serving a summons on the COO of Oakbay Investments, Ashu Chawla.
“We agree to rework the programme, we need two days coming back, have Apleni, Chawla. We still to prepare a summons to discuss with the Speaker,” says Chauke.
A witness that seems to have played a big role, Chawla, is wanted by the committee. However, his lawyers informed the committee that he is out of the country. But Chauke says they will summon him to appear.
“We have to look at ways in which we can bring Chawla quickly, we will discuss with the Speaker because it’s clear if we can get him with the invite sent through his lawyer. He is in possession of serious state information and therefore we need to deal with it at the highest level it deserves .”
Media reports have fingered Home Affairs official, Gideon Christians, of facilitating visas for the Gupta family. Christians have admitted to MPs, such as Mohammed Hoosen, that he had a friendly relationship with Chawla, with whom he shared confidential state information.
“You share info of Home Affairs with Mr. Chalwa, you shared intelligence with him, you shared a coal sale with him. don’t you think this was an improper relationship? No, I don’t think I had an improper relationship,” Christians respond to a question posed by Chauke.
MPs decided not to question Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba in the light that more witnesses needed to come to testify. Gigaba pledged his willingness to appear before the committee.