Parliament cannot find Guptas to appear before Eskom hearing

28 February 2018 - 15:39 By Thabo Mokone
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Atul Gupta. File photo.
Atul Gupta. File photo.
Image: Kevin Sutherland

The parliamentary committee probing the alleged capture of Eskom by the Guptas is battling to locate the controversial family and its lawyers in order to serve them with notice to appear before it.

This is according to ANC MP and chairperson of the Eskom inquiry‚ Zukiswa Rantho‚ who told the media on Wednesday that the public enterprises committee still wanted the Guptas to appear before the inquiry. However‚ they had been struggling to make contact with the family since December when they last exchanged communication.

Rantho said they tried to contact the lawyers who last wrote to the committee on behalf of the family‚ but the legal firm told them in strict terms that the Guptas were no longer their clients.

The Guptas had been lined up to appear before the Eskom inquiry on March 13‚ but the committee has not yet had a response.

"It's still a problem the issue of the Guptas because we don't know where they are but we're going to look for them. We'll have to check if we can find them in Saxonwold‚ or an office where they now operate from‚ those that are here‚ because we only know of one person who's outside the country‚" said Rantho.

"We did try to check with the lawyers and the lawyers said the Guptas and their associates are no longer their clients."

In court affidavit signed off in Dubai last week‚ Atul Gupta stated confirmed that he was out of the country while his brother Ajay has been declared a fugitive from justice after the commercial crimes unit the Hawks swooped on their Saxonwold compound as part of their investigations of several allegations against their family.

Rantho said the committee was now considering other legal avenues to locate the Guptas.

"Even if it means we have to send a registered letter to their residence in Saxonwold‚ we hope they will respond to the registered letter. If that does not work out‚ we will then have to seek legal advise on how to find [one of the Gupta brothers] who are send to be in the country but we can't find his address.”

The Guptas aside‚ Rantho said home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba would be appearing before the committee next Tuesday.

Gigaba had written to the committee seeking clarity on what "areas of focus" the committee wanted to deal with during his testimony.

The former public enterprises minister has been implicated in the alleged capture of Eskom by several witnesses who appeared before the inquiry.

Rantho said they had also written to former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni after she snubbed them on Wednesday‚ warning her to appear before the committee next failing which she would be summonsed.

Former Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane is also scheduled to appear before the committee next Wednesday.

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