STATE CAPTURE INQUIRY
Ajay Gupta wants to cross-examine Jonas‚ Mentor at state capture inquiry
Ajay Gupta’s lawyer has confirmed that he will apply for the right to cross-examine former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and ex-ANC MP Vytjie Mentor at the state capture inquiry - a move that will put him under pressure to take the stand.
Former president Jacob Zuma’s lawyers have told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that he is “still deciding” whether he will make such an application‚ but intends to make and communicate his decision by Friday.
As yet‚ Zuma’s son Duduzane has not formally applied for his lawyers to cross-examine either Mentor or Jonas‚ who both implicated him as a key player in the Gupta family’s alleged involvement in state capture. He has told TimesLIVE that he will testify at the inquiry if required to so‚ despite facing possible trial for alleged corruption on the basis of Jonas’s evidence.
Lawyers for the Zumas and the Guptas on Tuesday morning held a meeting behind closed doors with Zondo‚ which he described as “urgent”. It was during this meeting‚ Zondo said‚ that Zuma and the Guptas’ lawyers informed him of their responses to being implicated by Jonas and Mentor.
Ajay Gupta will file an affidavit‚ detailing his sworn response to the allegations against him‚ by Friday.
Following Tuesday morning’s meeting with the Zuma and Gupta lawyers‚ Zondo addressed the applications for cross-examination bought by Zuma’s personal assistant Lakela Kaunda‚ as well as by Hawks officers “Captain Mtolo” and Major-General Zinhle Mnonopi.
Kaunda wants to cross-examine Mentor over testimony that she called the ex-MP to set up an appointment with Zuma‚ and then put Mentor in contact with a Gupta brother to sort out her travel arrangements. Kaunda denies ever speaking to Mentor.
The Hawks officers want to cross-examine Mentor and Jonas about testimony that they actively tried to quash “state capture” investigations involving them‚ or tried to sanitise their evidence.
Zondo said he will make a decision on Kaunda’s application at the end of Mentor’s evidence‚ and will decide on the Hawks officers’ applications once they have provided him with a fuller account of their engagements with Jonas and Mentor.
Controversial arms deal advisor Fana Hlongwane‚ who Jonas says witnessed a Gupta brother’s alleged bid to bribe him to take the finance minister position and do the family’s bidding‚ has also applied for the right to cross-examine Jonas.
Zondo has yet to read Hlongwane’s application‚ and will make a decision once he has done so.
On day 4 of the state capture inquiry hearings on August 27 2018, the commission discussed how the cross-examination of witnesses would work. Karyn Maughan explains.
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