South Africa 29.8.2018 06:10 am

New Age saga next up at state capture commission

Themba Maseko, outspoken former CEO of the Government Communication and Information System, takes the stand today.

The Gupta family’s push for control of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) advertising budget will have a sequel at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture when Themba Maseko, former chief executive officer of the state communications agency, takes the stand today.

Maseko is expected to reveal details of how the Gupta brothers put him under pressure to place government adverts in their newspaper – the now defunct New Age newspaper.

Maseko two years ago spoke out publicly about how then president Jacob Zuma arranged a meeting with him and the Guptas when he was GCIS boss.

This followed a call by Zuma to him requesting that he “help” the Gupta brothers.

Commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is next week expected to rule on applications lodged by lawyers representing implicated individuals wishing to cross-examine witnesses, who include former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor.

Among those whose lawyers are seeking to cross-examine witnesses are Hawks major-general Zinhle Mnonopi, Ajay Gupta, advocate Alouis Mtolo, businessperson Fana Hlongwane and former Zuma aide Lakela Kaunda.

During his testimony last week, Jonas told the inquiry that Mnonopi had allegedly tried to “kill” a case relating to the Guptas’ attempt to allegedly bribe him with R600 million if he accepted the job of finance minister in 2015, which he declined.

Mnonopi had prepared a statement for Jonas to sign, which he refused.

Kaunda has been implicated for having arranged a meeting between the Guptas and Mentor eight years ago, when the former ANC MP was allegedly offered the post of public enterprises minister.

Senior counsel Mike Hellens could yesterday not confirm whether his client Ajay Gupta would be available to attend the inquiry during cross-examination of witnesses, only saying it was “a matter under discussion”.

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