'Zuma's worst nightmare': Duduzane set to face the music for Jonas bribe plot

Son Duduzane to be charged over Guptas' attempt to buy themselves a minister

08 July 2018 - 00:07 By KARYN MAUGHAN

Jacob Zuma's "worst nightmare" will come true early this week when his son Duduzane is charged over his alleged involvement in the Gupta plot to bribe former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.
The 34-year-old "has been asked to surrender himself to face charges" at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg, said his lawyer, Rudi Krause.
Krause said he had assured the Hawks that Duduzane would present himself at court, and it would not be necessary to arrest him. The date and time for his appearance will be agreed today.
Krause said he did not know "the exact charges that will be preferred against Mr Zuma", but NPA and Hawks sources said these related to the Jonas bribe, adding that Duduzane was the only person who had been summonsed.
Mike Hellens SC, the advocate who has acted for the Guptas and had been expected to represent Duduzane, said he had declined in order to avoid claims of a conflict of interest because he had previously acted for Jonas.
The former president is understood to have been concerned that his son would be arrested or charged if he returned to South Africa, and advised him against attending yesterday's funeral for his brother Vusi, 25.Insiders told the Sunday Times the charges against Duduzane would be the realisation of his father's "worst nightmare".
Law enforcement authorities are also understood to be considering charging Duduzane in connection with the Estina dairy project, in which Gupta companies stand accused of fraudulently receiving millions of rands intended for poor black farmers in the Free State. He is a director of Westdawn Investments, one of the Gupta companies that allegedly siphoned off money from the farm project.
And on Thursday, Duduzane is due in the Randburg Magistrate's Court charged with culpable homicide relating to a 2014 car crash.
Duduzane was briefly detained earlier this week when he arrived in South Africa from Dubai for Vusi's funeral, and questioned in relation to a "2016 Rosebank case". This is understood to be the case opened by Jonas after the Guptas' alleged attempt to bribe him.
NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku referred the Sunday Times to the Hawks, whose spokesman, Hangwani Mulaudzi, declined to comment. "We will issue a statement on Monday," he said.
The anticipated charges against Duduzane represent the NPA's return to the state capture fray after a bruising loss on May 28 in the High Court in Bloemfontein, which overturned a previously successful state application to freeze R250-million in Gupta assets allegedly linked to the Estina scam.
Judge Phillip Loubser said there was not a reasonable basis to believe Gupta family members, associates and businesses would be convicted on money-laundering and fraud charges.
The NPA has missed the deadline to appeal against the ruling but is understood to be considering another asset-seizure process in relation to the Estina prosecution. The Estina accused, who include the Gupta brothers' nephew Varun and business associates Nazeem Howa and Ronica Ragavan, are due back in court next month.In March 2016 the Sunday Times reported that Duduzane was present when the Guptas offered Jonas finance minister Nhlanhla Nene's job late the previous year. Jonas has since made statements about the alleged bribe to the Hawks and former public protector Thuli Madonsela.
According to cellphone records and Jonas's testimony, Duduzane was a key player in setting up the Guptas' meeting with Jonas on October 23 2015, at which he was allegedly offered R600,000 in cash.
According to Madonsela's report: "Mr Ajay Gupta informed Mr Jonas that they are going to make him minister of finance. Mr Jonas reported that he was shocked and irritated by the statement. He declined the position and informed Mr Ajay Gupta that only the president of the republic can make such decisions."
Jonas said Duduzane and businessman Fana Hlongwane were present at this meeting, but said nothing. At one stage, according to Madonsela's report, Ajay Gupta "apparently mentioned that his family had made Mr D Zuma a billionaire, and he has a house in Dubai".
After Jonas said he wanted to leave, he told Madonsela, Gupta told him that "collectively as a family" they had "made a lot of money from the state" - some R6-billion, which they wanted to increase to R8-billion. Most of their funds were held in Dubai.
"According to Mr Jonas, Mr A Gupta further indicated that National Treasury was a stumbling block to the family's business ambitions.
"As Mr Jonas was walking towards the door, Mr A Gupta made a further offer of R600-million to be deposited in an account of his choice. He asked if Mr Jonas had a bag which he could use to receive and carry R600 000 in cash immediately, which he declined."
Madonsela has confirmed she subpoenaed Duduzane so he could provide his version of events. But he did not do so.
He told the BBC's Milton Nkosi in an August 2017 interview in Dubai: "Mr Jonas was not offered a bribe by the Guptas. I did meet them. I was present. There was no such thing that took place."He later told Nkosi the meeting with Jonas had been arranged by him "to sort out certain issues that had nothing to do with the Guptas".
Madonsela concluded in her report that the allegations by Jonas would amount to a violation of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
Krause confirmed that Duduzane will appear in Randburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday. He is charged over the deaths of two minibus taxi passengers. Phumzile Dube was killed in February 2014 after Duduzane's Porsche and the taxi in which she was travelling collided. Her fellow passenger, Nanki Jeanette Mashaba, reportedly died in hospital a few weeks later.
In 2015, the NPA decided not to prosecute Duduzane, despite inquest magistrate Lalitha Chetty finding there was prima facie evidence that his negligence caused Dube's death.
After AfriForum and former prosecutor Gerrie Nel said that they intended to pursue a private prosecution against Duduzane, the state reconsidered and sought representations from him on why he should not face charges. He was later summonsed to appear in court.

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