It’s a witch hunt by a bunch of 'incompetents'‚ say Guptas
The Guptas have launched a scathing and astonishing attack on the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority‚ who they have slammed as “incompetents” hellbent on pursuing a politically motivated “witch hunt” against them.
They remain adamant that they will successfully challenge the seizure of the rehabilitation funds of the Gupta-owned Optimum Coal mine and the Koornfontein Coal mine – and this “will again show the ineptitude of the NPA”.
In a four-page statement issued by their lawyers late Wednesday night‚ the Guptas slammed both the “incompetent” Asset Forfeiture Unit cases launched against the family and their businesses‚ and challenged authorities to provide proof that a warrant of arrest has actually been issued for Ajay Gupta. Former Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula and Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi maintain that this warrant was issued for Ajay‚ but the family lawyers say they are yet to see it.
“Not only have the Gupta companies and the Guptas been attacked by incompetents in the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks‚ but it is blandly stated by a minister of state‚ by senior prosecutors and senior police officers that‚ for example‚ Mr Ajay Gupta is a fugitive from justice‚” BDK Attorneys Director Rudi Krause has written in a statement sent to TimesLIVE.
“The reality is that it is said that a warrant of arrest has been issued for Mr Ajay Gupta. We‚ the authorised legal representatives of Mr Ajay Gupta‚ have called for a copy of the so-called warrant‚” Krause said‚ adding that the Hawks had refused to provide this.
The family then turns its sights on Monday’s high-profile raids on the Gupta’s home in Johannesburg.
“At the time that the much publicised raid by the Hawks took place at the Saxonwold home of the Guptas‚ the brothers‚ Ajay‚ Atul and Rajesh were not at home‚ although other family members were. The brothers were overseas on business. They remain so overseas on business. They look across the world at South Africa and are appalled as to how a democratic state should have fallen into such disrepair that a senior and essential part of the justice system - the NPA - so completely fails in its duty to provide a copy of an arrest warrant to someone whom they publicise as a fugitive from justice.
“And at the same time those very incompetents bring an ultimately unsuccessful application to our courts based on a sheer failure to understand commerce‚ banking and the world of business‚” the statement reads.
The family’s lawyers have further slammed the media for failing “to recognise or adequately to report the basic fact that a completely incompetent order had been taken against the Gupta related companies and Mr Atul Gupta” in relation to the Estina Dairy Project case. The Gupta’s lawyers successfully challenged a preservation order freezing assets alleged to be “the proceeds of crime” on the basis that the state had shown a “fundamental failure to understand the true nature of commercial practice and of banking”.
“The simple basis for that failure was an inability by the National Prosecuting Authority to read bank statements in a manner which made any commercial sense‚” Krause says.
“I am authorised to make this statement to indicate to the South African public that although they may be feasting on a media frenzy of anti-Gupta negative sentiment‚ the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks are failing in the exercise of their functions in an objective manner. They are jointly‚ for political reasons related to recent political developments of this country been motivated‚ in the view of the Guptas‚ to set about a witch hunt of the Guptas.
“Whilst it is so that the wheels of justice turn slowly we would like to inform the NPA and the Hawks that they will ensure that that slow grinding of the wheels of justice will grind evermore finely until the gross injustices and wrongs perpetrated by the NPA and the Hawks are brought starkly to light‚” he added.
The NPA has declined to respond to the Guptas’ attack on their cases.