Monday, June 27, 2022

I met with the Guptas, says Pravin Gordhan in leaked statement

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The minister is angry that his statement detailing his dealings with the Guptas has been leaked.

In a sworn affidavit, ahead of his testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan details an official meeting with the Guptas, as well as other encounters.

According to Gordhan, he met the Guptas at the request of then president Jacob Zuma at some stage during his first term.

He says he refused to meet with them after that, but admits to seeing them at two events and at a business meeting after this.

The minister is apparently angry that the statement he submitted to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s inquiry has been leaked and has not remained confidential, News24 has reported.

At Gordhan’s first Gupta meeting, Jacob Zuma introduced Ajay Gupta to him as “my friend”.

Zuma told Gordhan, who was finance minister at the time, that Gupta was a business and finance expert.

Pravin Gordhan

“I recall us exchanging generalities for a couple of minutes, but I do not recall the details of what was a very cursory exchange. Mr Gupta then excused himself and left me and the former president to continue our meeting,” Gordhan says.

Later, in 2010, Tony Gupta called a meeting between Gordhan and an Indian businessman who wanted to aquire a stake in MTN. Gordhan says the Gupta brother “badgered” Gordhan’s chief of staff at the time, Dondo Mogajane, to accept the meeting on behalf of Gordhan.

Gordhan says he agreed to attending because the businessman could have been potentially a major investor, but he does not remember the meeting in detail.

He says the other times he met the Guptas were in passing at public events.

While BusinessLive reported on the affidavit from the perspective that the information contained in it proves that Gordhan has “nothing to hide” regarding the Guptas, the EFF disagrees.

The party has released a strongly worded statement continuing their ongoing battle against the minister, calling him a “master manipulator” who was an “accomplice in the Guptas’ activities”.

The EFF claim that Tiso Blackstar, the media conglomerate BusinessLive is owned by, are Gordhan’s “propagandists” who are seeking to drive a narrative absolving Gordhan of what they claim is his complicity in state capture.

Source: News24

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