Hawks express ‘serious concern’ over Jonas allegation
Hawks head‚ Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya‚ has expressed “serious concern” over allegations that a senior investigator tried to “kill” an investigation into allegations that the Gupta family tried to bribe former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.
But it remains unclear what action‚ if any‚ will be taken against Major General Zinhle Mnonopi over the claims against her.
In a statement released on Friday afternoon‚ the Hawks reiterated that they “support the work of the [state capture] Commission and will allow the witnesses to complete the testimony without distraction before enlisting their assistance in visiting the matter”.
The Hawks have not responded to Jonas’s evidence that he is not entirely sure which Gupta brother allegedly offered him R600-million to serve the family’s business interests by replacing then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.
This testimony may have significant consequences for the possible corruption prosecution of the Guptas in relation to Jonas’s claims. Former president Jacob Zuma’s son‚ Duduzane, has already been charged with corruption in the case‚ which was postponed so that the State could potentially charge other accused.
With the State’s star witness in the case now expressing doubt over which Gupta brother was involved‚ the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) could face challenges in identifying and charging that other accused.
The NPA has declined to comment on the issue‚ but it’s understood that the Hawks and the prosecuting authority intend to meet to discuss the future progress of the state capture cases.
In his explosive evidence to the state capture inquiry‚ Jonas revealed for the first time that‚ while he was relatively certain that it was Ajay Gupta who tried to bribe him in October 2015‚ he “could not exclude the possibility” that it was Rajesh Gupta.
He also revealed that Mnonopi had tried to “kill” the criminal case opened after the alleged Gupta bribe attempt was publicised - to the extent of preparing a statement for him to sign. He refused to do so.
Mnonopi continues to serve in the Hawks.
Ajay Gupta has previously stated under oath that he “never met Mr Mcebisi Jonas‚ not as alleged or at all”.
“The fact of the matter is that Mr Jonas is‚ with respect‚ blatantly dishonest when he suggests that he met with me or that I attended a meeting with him.
“I have challenged Mr Jonas‚ and I do so again‚ to prove that he met with me as alleged…until today I can honestly say that I have not spoken a single word to him‚” he has said.
It’s understood the Guptas lawyers have gathered cell phone and other evidence to prove that he was not in the Saxonwold area when the alleged meeting took place.
The family’s lawyers have yet to decide whether they will apply to cross-examine Jonas over his testimony.
Ajay Gupta last year stated under oath that he and the Guptas wanted to participate in any potential state capture inquiry so that they could cross-examine Jonas.