At the commission of inquiry into state capture today it was revealed that in an affidavit submitted to deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta claim they will not return to South Africa to face the Hawks or the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) because they are “recklessly incompetent” and a “national embarrassment.”
In response, Zondo reportedly asked the brothers’ lawyer Mike Hellens why, if they find the two institutions so incompetent, they would fear returning to the country to face them.
This apparently left the lawyer stumped.
Zondo then asserted his belief that it is out of fear of being arrested that the Guptas have not returned, rather than their alleged refusal to face “incompetent” law enforcement.
Gupta Lawyer says Gupta's won't subject themselves to authority of Hawks & NPA because they are incompetent.
Judge Zondo says if they are so incompetent then why fear coming back to SA to face them?
— Simon Grindrod (@SimonPGrindrod) September 6, 2018
— Aldrin Sampear (@AldrinSampear) September 6, 2018
Shortly afterwards, Zondo mentioned that the Guptas could be subpoenaed to return to the country to face the inquiry.
Advocate Vincent Maleka, however, pointed out that this could lead to the Guptas using the courts to oppose the subpoena, which could take up to five years and would frustrate the work of the commission in the process.
Judge Zondo points out that Guptas can be subpoena'ed to come before #statecaptureinquiry Vincent Maleka says it could take five years if the Guptas use the courts to oppose the subpoena and it will frustrate the work of the Commission.
— Ferial Haffajee (@ferialhaffajee) September 6, 2018
Justice Zondo today reserved judgment on Gupta brothers Ajay and Rajesh’s applications for leave to cross-examine witnesses who implicated them in their evidence at the commission. He also reserved judgement on a similar application by lawyers representing Duduzane Zuma.
He granted businessman Fana Hlongwane the right to cross-examine former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, and former presidential adviser Lakela Kaunda the right to examine former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor.
He also granted Hawks official Alois Mtolo the right to cross-examine Mentor.
During the inquiry on Monday, it emerged that the controversial Gupta family and former president Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, want to cross-examine state capture inquiry witnesses: ex-parliamentarian Vytjie Mentor, former government spin doctor Themba Maseko, and former finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.
Explosive evidence from Mentor, Maseko, and Jonas implicated Zuma and the Guptas extensively in the looting of State resources and influencing key government decisions.
”Mr Ajay Gupta has filed an application in terms of the rules of this commission, to cross-examine Mr Maseko and Miss Mentor. He has also filed an affidavit in respect of both parties setting out his versions of the event,” said Hellens.