SOUTH AFRICA: GUPTA EMPIRE CRUMBLES

PRETORIA, The net is finally closing around the Gupta family, members of which are now being pursued in earnest by the Hawks, with at least seven cases said to be at an advanced stage of investigation.

City Press understands that these cases include Atul Gupta’s offer of ministerial positions to former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor, as well as multibillion-rand Gupta contracts at state-owned enterprises including Eskom and Transnet.

Yesterday, a senior source in the security cluster told City Press: Investigations involving entities under state capture allegations are at an advanced stage.

“At least seven will see prosecution by June with [those related to the] Vrede [dairy farm scandal] starting in less than a week or so.

This follows this week’s raids on the Free State office of the premier, the Free State department of agriculture and the dairy farm this week.

A senior security cluster official told City Press on Friday that the Hawks seized laptops, hard drives and a copy of the server at the premier’s office, which has been occupied for nine years by new ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.

Another senior security cluster source said the Hawks were working on establishing whether Magashule was directly involved in the failed dairy project his provincial government handed to Gupta-linked company Estina.

They have mirrored the server in the premier’s office in the hope of finding something, he said. They have everything else that they need on the others.

However, a source close to the police department said: The raid had nothing to do with [Magashule], but with documents that would ordinarily be at his office.

“For now. The premier’s office is the nerve centre of province administration, cabinet resolutions and so on.

In a statement on Friday, the office’s director-general, Kopung Ralikontsane, said the provincial government had undertaken to cooperate fully with all the investigations.

It is in our interest that this matter is brought to its finality to allow the Free State provincial government to continue its work of changing the lives of the people for the better.

“We wish to thank the members of the public for their patience in the matter, and we wish to commit that we will regularly update them on this matter, as well as on all our activities that are implemented in line with our mandate, he said.

Sources from the Hawks, close to the police ministry and elsewhere in the security cluster told City Press that Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who was the province’s MEC for agriculture at the time the Guptas allegedly milked his department of R220 million � is facing arrest along with his former head of department Peter Thabethe, as are at least two of the Gupta brothers.

We are diligently dealing with it and we aren’t paying heed to public pressure or to any politician or group.

“The Hawks and the SA Police Service are working closely with National Prosecuting Authority [NPA], said one source.

The arrests are a done deal. It is just a matter of when.

A senior Hawks source told City Press last week that arrest warrants had already been issued.

Zwane told news channel eNCA that he welcomed the Hawks investigation and offered to cooperate with the process.

I am one of the people who believe in innocence until proven guilty by the court of law, he said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK