Indians Abroad

US flagged Iranian funding for Gupta Brothers’ mine purchase, claims report


Atul and Rajesh Gupta are now apparently in custody in Dubai.

Johannesburg:

The United States has raised concerns with South African authorities that the controversial Gupta family is getting money from Iran to buy the Shiva uranium mine in that country, according to the final report on an extensive judicial investigation into corruption.

The final report of the Commission of Inquiry into State Creation, handed over to Chief Cyril Ramaphosa by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Wednesday, claims that attempts by the top three officials at the State Security Agency (SSA) to investigate the Indian origin of Gupta family have been thwarted, allegedly by the then Minister of the Agency, Siyabonga Cwele.

Led by Director-General Jeff Maqetuka, head of the foreign branch Moe Shaik and head of the domestic branch Gibson Njenje, the SSA wanted to conduct investigations into the Guptas, it said.

The Commission handed over its final reports to President Ramaphosa after a four-year investigation in which the three Gupta brothers – Ajay, Atul and Rajesh – appeared prominently over their alleged looting of billions of rands from state-owned enterprises, allegedly due to their proximity to old . President Jacob Zuma.

Atul and Rajesh are apparently now in custody in Dubai, awaiting the finalization of an extradition request by South Africa.

The entire Gupta family, originally from Saharanpur in India, fled the country when the net closed on them as pressure increased on Zuma, who was eventually ousted by his own African National Congress appointing him for a second term.

“In the judgment of the Commission, a strong case is made, … that deliberate efforts have been made … to capture national intelligence; further efforts were made to thwart investigations into the Guptas, ”the report reads.

“Regarding what initially aroused interest in the Guptas, Ambassador Maqetuka confirms the testimony by Messrs. Shaik and Mr. Njenje that it arose because the Americans expressed concern that the Guptas were getting money from Iran to buy the Shiva uranium mine.

“The second angle from which the need arose to investigate the Guptas arose from the issue of (Transport) Minister (Fikile) Mbalula after he said that he had been informed by the Guptas of his impending appointment as Minister. even before he was said by the former. President.

“According to Ambassador Maqetuka, this had to be investigated for two reasons. Firstly, for them, there was a serious security risk for Minister Mbalula to be informed in advance by an outsider. Secondly, there was a need to protect the former president, as it would violate his name, ”reads the report.

“A further concern was that, by informing Minister Mbalula in advance of his appointment, the Guptas would create a dependency on Mr Mbalula from them, as their prior knowledge of his appointment would make him feel obligated to them. “This kind of undue influence over the Minister of Sport was serious, as the Guptas had interests in businesses that included cricket stadiums,” the report reads.

The Guptas at one stage tried to rename all the major cricket stadiums in South Africa under their IT brand, Sahara.

The Commission was also informed that Minister Susan Shabangu, then Minister of Mines, had been summoned to a meeting with Ajay Gupta, which was to be held at a hotel, but the venue was changed to the official residence of President Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Pretoria.

The ministerial delegation was ushered in by the president’s study by Ajay Gupta, who allegedly put pressure on the minister to speed up mineral rights for his company.

“The fact that the meeting was held at the President’s official residence, and in his absence, was, in Mr Njenje’s opinion, for the Guptas to show how powerful they are; to show a government minister that she can be called to the President’s study in his absence, ”the report reads.

The SSA chiefs did, however, eventually meet with Zuma to explain how necessary it is to investigate the Guptas due to US concerns and the issue regarding Mbalula’s appointment.

They admitted to the Commission that although Zuma never directly instructed them to stop the investigation, it was clear from what he said and his body language that he disapproved of the investigation.

The Commission found that Zuma did not want the Guptas to be investigated.

“President Zuma defended his friendship with the Guptas and their close association with him. President Zuma said it was not necessary to investigate the Guptas as they are ‘good people’ with whom he had a good relationship,” he said. the report concluded.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by techlives staff and is published from a syndicated stream.)

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