Pauli Van Wyk slams NPA for inaction after US blacklists Guptas

Pauli Van Wyk slams NPA for inaction after US blacklists Guptas

File picture: Gupta brothers, Ajay and Atul.

It’s organisations such as ‘the Hawks, the NPA, the Asset Forfeiture Unit’ who should be bringing the controversial businessmen to book, says an analyst.

Journalist Pauli van Wyk says the announcement that the US Treasury has blacklisted the Gupta family does not make our own National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) look great.

Van Wyk tweeted: “Only these words: How does this make you feel, NPA?”

In 2018, the NPA dropped its charges against the Guptas for their involvement in the hugely controversial Estina Dairy Farm project –  which saw alleged corruption, flouting of treasury rules and mismanagement taking place.

Then, in February this year, the NPA cancelled an arrest warrant for Ajay Gupta.

In May, the appointment of Advocate Hermione Cronje as head of the NPA brought renewed hope that the Guptas may be brought to justice.

The US Treasury announced sanctions Thursday on the Gupta family and associate Salim Essa, calling them a ‘significant corruption network’ that dispersed bribes and misappropriated millions in state funds.

The sanctions immediately freeze any assets the blacklisted individuals have under US jurisdiction and forbid Americans and US businesses — particularly international banks with any US operations — from transacting with them.

READ MORE: NPA’s Cronje sets her sights on the Guptas

The full statement from US treasury can be read here.

Van Wyk is not alone in her thinking, with analyst Ebrahim Fakir expressing similar sentiments in a story published earlier on Friday.

“South Africans shouldn’t be celebrating this. We should be rueing and regretting the fact that our own authorities are not doing this when it is them who should be. The Hawks, the NPA, the Asset Forfeiture Unit and so on,” he said.

However, this did not mean that Fakir approved of the move on the part of the US. While expressing the view that “It’s a shame and shameful that US authorities did this” rather than our own, he added that he believes they did so “hypocritically – considering their own corrupt president ought to be susceptible to this.”

Fakir questioned whether the US shouldn’t be dealing with its own cases of corruption.

He asked: “Many of its own corporates are notoriously corrupt – they have their own citizens, their own corporates and even their government is guilty of the same – corporate influence peddling, regime change and so on, if not worse – than the Guptas. In fact, US companies like Bain, were involved in Eskom as well as McKinsey. What will the US do about them?”

Fakir also questioned the timing, saying it’s curious that the US is taking action now, when the allegations have been around for a long time.

“I think it may well be lobbying and networking from the [Cyril] Ramaphosa camp to have this effected – to stave off a rearguard action from Jacob Zuma.”

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, News24 Wire and AFP.) 

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