By Pinky Khoabane
A press statement (attached) released by Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas on 16 March 2016 sparked the investigation into allegations of the Gupta family’s state capture.
There are discrepancies between the statement and the interview to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Here’s an excerpt from the State Capture report.
- Jonas makes no mention of the R600 000 or R6m offer in both his press statement and media reports carried on the story.
- His statement to the PP doesnt really go into details on his relationship with Hlongwane, contents of which were carried in a letter which was carried here a few weeks back
- His version of events is of course very different to that of Hlongwane. But this is to be expected
- Jonas has now confirmed that he met the Guptas/D Zuma through Hlongwane. The DA had wanted him to explain why he had had a relationship with “shady character” Hlongwane. Will they still hold him to account?
- Why would a “shady comrade” ask you to go and meet “shady D Zuma” who has links with “shady Guptas” and you go”?
- The Sunday Times broke the job offer in March but the details of “millions offered” came a couple of weeks ago clearly based on Mcebisi’s leaked affidavit to the PP
- Jonas told both Nene and Gordhan of the job offer; Nene immediately after the offer and Gordhan, when appointed as finance minister. In their interview to the PP, both finance ministers never mentioned it to the President at the time of being fired and hired, respectively
- The Sunday Times said the meeting between Guptas & Jonas happened on the last Friday of November, two weeks before Nene was sacked. Jonas in his testimony to PP doesnt pin himself to any date except that he accepted an invitation to meet D Zuma on 23 October 2015
- The ST reported that Jonas met with Ajay & Atul & the President’s son. In his interview with PP, Jonas says he only met Ajay. It must also be said that in his statement to the PP Jonas didnt rectify this point.
- Jonas, in his testimony to the PP doesnt mention the conditions to the finance minister job which included “pushing for the nuclear deal”
- The PP in her report mentions that such offers should have been lodged at a police station and it seemingly and apparently didnt happen.
An interesting point the PP makes somewhere else in the report is that there was no investigation by the Executive, into the allegations by Jonas and I contend that not even the media provided evidence. Jonas has never had to provide evidence and it seemingly and apparently (words all over the PP’s report on state capture) it didnt really matter.
Interview with Mr Jonas (Excerpt from State Capture Report)
I interviewed the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Mcebisi Jonas (Mr Jonas) to establish facts regarding allegations that he was offered a Cabinet post my members of the Gupta family. He informed me of the following:
a) Mr Hlongwane, whom Mr Jonas knew very well as a comrade, initiated discussions with him about a meeting with Mr D. Zuma;
b) He agreed to the meeting although with reservations as he was aware that Mr D. Zuma was working with members of the Gupta family for financial gain;
c) He gave permission to Mr Hlongwane to provide his mobile number to Mr D. Zuma;
d) On 17 October 2015, he received several text messages from Mr D. Zuma;
e) The initial messages were about the invitation to attend the South African Awards Ceremony hosted by the Gupta family;
f) The event was scheduled for 18 October 2015 and Mr Jonas declined the invite due to his busy schedule;
g) On 23 October 2015, Mr Jonas agreed to meet with Mr D. Zuma;
h) The meeting started at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Rosebank;
i) Mr Jonas arrived early and waited for Mr D. Zuma;
j) Mr D. Zuma later arrived and a short while into the meeting, indicated that the place was crowded and he needed to move to a more private place for a discussion with a third party to which he agreed. The location was not disclosed to him;
k) Using Mr D. Zuma’s vehicle, they travelled together to what later Mr Jonas found to be the Gupta family residence in Saxonwold;
l) He was unfamiliar with the area and had never been to the Gupta family residence before;
m) They arrived at a “compound like residence” with security guards;
n) As they arrived, Mr Hlongwane alighted from his car to join them;
o) Once inside the residence, they were joined by Mr Ajay Gupta, whom Mr Jonas had never met before and recognised him from articles in the press);
p) During the meeting, there was no exchange of pleasantries. Mr Ajay Gupta informed him that they had been gathering intelligence on him and those close to him;
q) He apparently indicated that they were well aware of his activities and his connections to Mr Mantashe and the Treasurer of the ANC, Dr Zweli Mkhize (Dr Mkhize), alleging that he was part of a faction or process towards undermining President Zuma;
r) Mr Ajay Gupta informed Mr Jonas that they were going to make him Minister of Finance. Mr Jonas reported that he was shocked and irritated by the statement;
s) He declined the position and informed Mr Ajay Gupta that only the President of the Republic can make such decisions;
t) He informed Mr Ajay Gupta that he was leaving. At no stage did Mr D. Zuma and At no stage did Mr D. Zuma and Mr Hlongwane speak during the meeting. They were told to sit down when I indicated that I was leaving;
u) Mr Ajay Gupta continued to speak. He disclosed names of “Comrades” they were working with and providing protection to. He mentioned that collectively as a family, they “made a lot of money from the State” and they wanted to increase the amount from R6 billion to R8 billion and that a bulk of their funds were held in Dubai;
v) According to Mr Jonas, Mr A. Gupta further indicated that National Treasury were a stumbling block to the family’s business ambitions. As part of the offer to become a Finance Minister, Mr Jonas would be expected to remove the current Director General of National Treasury and other key members of Executive Management;
w) Mr A. Gupta apparently mentioned that his family has made Mr D. Zuma a Billionnaire and that he has a house in Dubai;
x) 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;
y) He then asked Mr D. Zuma and Mr Hlongwane to transport him to the airport. On the way to the airport, Mr Jonas apparently asked both Mr D. Zuma and Mr Hlongwane to explain why he was not informed that he would be meeting with members of the Gupta family. They all agreed to meet the following Tuesday to discuss the issue and the meeting never took place;
z) He later contacted Mr Hlongwane to inform him of his unhappiness about the meeting;
a) Immediately after the meeting, he informed former Minister of Finance Mr Nhlanhla Nene. I later also informed current Minister of Finance Mr Pravin Gordan and Mr Zweli Mkhize of the ANC about the offer; and
b) On 16 March 2016, he released a statement after the media started reporting on the matter.