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Mcebisi Jonas hits back at Ajay Gupta

Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas is adamant he met Ajay Gupta‚ was offered a promotion and R600m in exchange for bringing business deals to the Gupta family.

Jonas filed an 11-page affidavit on Thursday responding to Gupta’s own affidavit in which he vehemently denied these events took place.

In the affidavit filed on February 9‚ Gupta had‚ under oath‚ denied meeting or speaking to Jonas.

“The correct facts regarding Mr Ajay Gupta himself is‚ in short‚ as follows. I met him at his Saxonwold residence on 23 October 2015 together with Mr Duduzane Zuma and Hlongwane‚” said Jonas‚ referring to businessman Fana Hlongwane.

The affidavit continues: “Mr Gupta indicated to me that ‘we’ — I understood clearly‚ the Gupta family and its interests — had been gathering intelligence on me including those closest to me‚ they were aware of my activities and connections with senior members of the African National Congress‚ they are going to make me the minister of finance.

“Collectively as a family they make a lot of money from the state; that they intend to increase that to about R8bn from about R6bn currently and that the bulk of their money is stashed in Dubai‚” Jonas said.

He claimed Gupta revealed that the National Treasury had been a “stumbling block” to their ambitions.

Ajay Gupta. Picture: BUSINESS DAY/MARTIN RHODES
Ajay Gupta. Picture: BUSINESS DAY/MARTIN RHODES

Allegations that Jonas met Gupta were detailed in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on state capture. The report was prepared by Madonsela during her time in office but was released by her successor‚ Busisiwe Mkhwebane‚ in November last year.

In the affidavit‚ Jonas highlighted that Madonsela had accepted his version of events and did not question his integrity.

“The Public Protector did not doubt my version. She did‚ however‚ record that Mr Gupta denies visits of an identified individual to his residence‚ despite the fact that telephone records reflected numerous visits by this person to Saxonwold‚” Jonas said.

He rejected Gupta’s version that he had been blatantly dishonest about the incident.

Ajay Gupta said that, to support his denial of meeting Jonas‚ he had approached Duduzane Zuma and Hlongwane to depose affidavits regarding his involvement at the meeting in October 2015.

Both businessmen‚ in separate affidavits‚ said Ajay Gupta was not present at any time during the meeting with Jonas held “on 25 October 2017” [sic].

Jonas maintained that the meeting took place on October 23 2015 and not on October 25 2015‚ as stated by Hlongwane and Zuma.

“Therefore‚ the absence of Mr Ajay Gupta at a meeting two days later‚ on 25 October 2015‚ fails to confirm the necessary allegation‚” he said.