Search on for Guptas’ R50bn treasure chest

David Lewis of Corruption Watch

The Asset Forfeiture Unit on Tuesday stepped up its efforts to recover billions of rands which are believed to have been leached by the notorious Gupta clan and others through a sustained campaign of state capture.   A target of R50bn is now being sought, as the recovery efforts multiply.

Civil society group Corruption Watch welcomed the serving of a court order to freeze assets of McKinsey and Trillian, both of which, through links with Eskom, are believed to be sitting on some of the haul.

“This must naturally be followed by the commencement of criminal proceedings against these two firms – as well as against the individual McKinsey, Trillian and Eskom executives and board members implicated in the wholesale looting of public resources,” stated Corruption Watch.

“Corruption Watch has been cooperating in the investigation with the US Department of Justice, and will continue to do so. We would naturally be pleased to cooperate with the South African criminal justice authorities as well.”

David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, commented: “While this is a welcome development, it is the tip of the iceberg. Most South Africans could identify several cabinet ministers as well as current and former senior executives and board members of Eskom, Transnet, Prasa, McKinsey, SAP, the SABC, MultiChoice and South China Rail, to name but a few who should be charged criminally. This applies equally to senior executives of SARS.”

Lewis warned that Corruption Watch is not confident that robust and competent criminal proceedings will be launched “while the National Prosecuting Authority is led by Shaun Abrahams – who has consistently demonstrated that his loyalty lies not with the law but with President Zuma and his cronies.

“At the end of last year, the High Court, pursuant to an application filed by Corruption Watch, removed Abrahams from office,” Lewis added.

“The court, mindful of the president’s conflict of interest, empowered the deputy president to appoint a new national director of public prosecutions. We urge him to make this appointment without delay.”

Meanwhile, Ben Theron, OUTA’s COO said:   “There is no doubt that where there is smoke, there is fire. The current media activity appears to indicate that positive action is happening within certain elements of the prosecuting mechanisms within of the state.

“This is undoubtedly good news and signals that the fruits of a consistent approach by OUTA and other organisations who have stayed true to their mandate of tackling corruption – by laying charges against those who abuse their authority – is now beginning to pay off.

“It certainly send a strong signal of a new guard and a change of attitude when it comes to tackling corruption, now that Jacob Zuma is no longer at the helm of the ruling party.

”OUTA, SAFTU, HSF and others have been very busy over the past year, gathering evidence and painstakingly building solid cases that will assist the authorities to advance a number of cases related to State Capture.

“For now, the initial activity by the AFU appears to target a few corporate entities linked to the Eskom McKinsey / Trillian contract; however, in the near future, we sincerely believe that other cases and charges that include Gupta brothers, along with a host of senior government officials and other companies will begin to unfold.

“OUTA applauds this recent development and looks forward to the imminent introduction of new leadership within the NDPP – one that will hopefully inject a new level of civil courage into the NPA.

“It is high time that this critical state institution conducts its work without fear or favour, such that many who have paved the way for billions of rands to be stolen from the people of South Africa, are held accountable for their actions sooner rather than later.”

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