Former S African minister testifies at state capture inquiry over relationship with Gupta brothers
- South Africa
Former South African mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who is accused of assisting the controversial Gupta brothers in acquiring mines in the country, requested a lift in their private jet as he was suffering from a throat infection, he told a commission of inquiry into state capture.
Reports at the time indicated that the Guptas then used the mine to bid for contracts at an escalated cost.
Zwane has also been accused of diverting funds for another Gupta-linked venture, the Estina Dairy Farm project, to upskill small farmers in the Free State province with government funding.
Although experts were initially brought in from India, the project failed due to most of the funds being allegedly diverted to offshore bank accounts held by the Guptas. Zwane was the provincial minister of agriculture at the time.
Rajesh Gupta (also known as Tony), who along with his brothers Ajay and Atul Gupta have been accused of looting state enterprises of billions of rands because of their closeness to former president Jacob Zuma, was present at the Switzerland meeting.
''Due to my condition at that point, struggling with my voice because of the throat, I requested them to give me a lift to India (in their private jet),'' the minister said.
Zwane said he concluded his scheduled business visits in India with possible investors and then had an operation in a public hospital.
The Guptas are accused of looting billions of rands from state enterprises via the vast business empire that they built up after first arriving in South Africa from Saharanpur in India in the 1990's as democracy dawned under the Presidency of Nelson Mandela.
They are now in self-exile in Dubai, and have consistently refused to appear before the commission to testify about their versions of the allegations, which they have denied.
Both the US and the UK have also slapped sanctions, including visa bans and freezing of assets.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)