Gosebo Mathope
2 minute read
19 Jan 2018
11:51 am

Asset Forfeiture Unit’s hunt for R50bn state-capture loot turbocharged

Gosebo Mathope

Vavi believes the Estina farm investigation will humble at least two big players in the Guptas' political network.

Minister of Mineral Affairs Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane at the Africa Mining Indaba on February 8, 2016 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Business Day / Trevor Samson)

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) is on the hunt for R50 billion looted from the state coffers through state-capture corrupt deals. And they have Cyril Ramaphosa’s political backing.

AFU has already served preservation orders on McKinsey and Trillian to recoup R1.6 billion unlawfully paid to them by cash-strapped Eskom. The unit refused to discuss the details of the case with the media this week.

Addressing the team that he will lead during this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Ramaphosa said the allegations of looting involving the Gupta family must be vigorously investigated.

“We welcome the actions that they are beginning to take, and want them to act with urgency to increase the tempo of the actions that need to be taken. The freezing of assets in an important component of this, but we want to see a lot more.

“It is unacceptable, totally unacceptable, that SOEs that are owned by the nation and that were set up to advance the interests of our people on a collective basis have been hijacked and captured by certain interests. It is good now that the whole thing has come out in the open, and emails helped,” he said.

READ MORE: Dairy farms, Cabinet reshuffles, Switzerland trips – Ramatlhodi fills in gaps

Meanwhile, although McKinsey and Trillian may be first up in NPA’s efforts to recoup R1.6 billion in assets from unlawful activity linked to state capture, it is the Estina dairy farm that puts the Gupta family directly in the firing line.

The Mail & Guardian is this week carrying a report that states that South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said the investigation into the Estina farm in the Free State would humble at least two big players in the Guptas’ political network.

“Mosebenzi Zwane will definitely be on the jive when it comes to the dairy farm. I suspect that this may go all the way up to the new secretary-general of [the] ANC, the premier of Free State [Ace Magashule],” Vavi said in an interview with Eyewitness News.

It has been reported that this week the NPA said Estina would form one of eight separate strands of investigation related to state capture. The allegations are that then Free State MEC Zwane implemented a directive that came directly from the office of the premier.

The looted money is widely believed to have been used to fund the lavish Gupta wedding that took place in Sun City. Close to 200 Gupta friends and relatives landed at Waterkloof Airforce base, a facility reserved for state officials. At the wedding, the family is said to have rejected black waitrons serving them, as they preferred white blonde women, details that were laid bare in one of the leaked Gupta emails.

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