Jonas hits back at Ajay Gupta claims
Publish date: 17 February 2017
Issue Number: 4170
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Ajay Gupta's allegations of ‘blatant dishonesty’ by Deputy Finance Minister Mcbesis Jonas in his testimony recorded in the Public Protector’s State of Capture report regarding a meeting at the family’s home in Saxonwold have been challenged by Jonas in a responding affidavit. The war of words is contained in papers filed at the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) by several parties in the application brought by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who is seeking an order declaring he cannot interfere with decisions by the big four banks to close the accounts of Gupta businesses. In her report, notes Stephen Grootes on the Daily Maverick site, former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, detailed the evidence she’d received from Jonas about this meeting. He explained that he had ended up at the Gupta home/compound/city block on 23 October 2015. During that meeting he’d been told by a member of the Gupta family that they could ensure he would be promoted to the position of Finance Minister, and that if he did what was asked, he would receive a sum of R600m. As a detail, he also mentioned that there was R600 000 available for him to take right away, in cash.
In a series of affidavits filed last week, Ajay Gupta flatly denied that he’d actually met Jonas, at his home. To bolster his story, notes the DM report, he also supplied affidavits from two other people who were, according to Jonas, present. They were Duduzane Zuma, the Presdent’s son, and Fana Hlongwane, the arms deal facilitator. But, says Grootes, there is a problem with the dates. As Jonas has pointed out (and many others noticed), the date of the meeting that is mentioned by Duduzane Zuma and Hlongwane is 25 October 2017. Jonas points out that even if this problem is rectified, and they do mean 25 October 2015, the date of the meeting was actually 23 October 2015. Presumably, says Grootes, lawyers will agree that this mistake makes their documents entirely useless. Jonas, however, has another problem with their version. Because, he says, in his first statement about this meeting, he refers to ‘members of the Gupta family being present’ when he went to Saxonwold. The fact that Ajay Gupta says he was was not present doesn’t mean that other members of the family were not. As an aside, he also appears to ask why the meeting would be held at the Gupta residence without his (Ajay’s) authorisation.