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Guptas accuse public enterprises committee of 'political showboating'

13 March 2018 - 09:55 By Nico Gous And Kyle Cowan
Ajay and Atul Gupta.
Ajay and Atul Gupta.

The Gupta brothers have accused the parliamentary public enterprises portfolio committee investigating alleged state capture of “political showboating”‚ “grandstanding” and being “televised for the dramatic effect”.

Ajay‚ Atul and Rajesh Gupta made the accusations in a scathing letter to the committee‚ via their attorney Rudi Krause from BDK Attorneys.

“The proceedings are to a large extent an exercise in political showboating by parliamentarians intent either on making political speeches‚ insulting witnesses or otherwise questioning witnesses in a manner which is not conducive to the resolution of identified or identifiable issues.”

They added: “The conduct of the proceedings is manifestly unfair and improper.”

The Guptas were invited on March 1 to appear before the committee on Tuesday. They also accused the committee of “unfair questioning” about “totally irrelevant” issues.

“The witnesses are confronted with allegations which amount to nothing but conjecture‚ speculation and biased conclusions without any underlying evidence.”

The Guptas said they had not received the evidence of other witnesses‚ making it impossible to discern what issues would be dealt with. They said this “speaks volumes for the vague‚ disordered‚ uncontrolled and untrammelled nature of the inquiry”.

“The proceedings are conducted with no effective guidance from the chairperson or anyone with a measure of control over the proceedings…”

The Guptas said it remained a mystery why the Hawks had issued warrants for their arrest and accused the Hawks of refusing to give them more information. The letter said they were currently out of the country for “business reasons”.

Legal counsel for Duduzane Zuma‚ Gary Mazaham‚ confirmed on Tuesday he had written to the committee on behalf of Zuma‚ but refused to disclose the contents of the letter.

Former South African Airways (SAA) chairperson Dudu Myeni informed the committee on Monday she would not attend Tuesday’s meeting. Myeni told the committee last week she was too ill to fly.

Committee chairperson Zukiswa Rantho said on Tuesday morning the committee would decide on their next step at the meeting‚ which was scheduled to start at 9:30am.