What Ajay Gupta said in his first major interview since leaving South Africa

The New York Times has published a Dubai-based interview with Ajay Gupta – the eldest of the controversial Gupta brothers accused of trying to “capture the state” in South Africa.

Speaking to the paper, Gupta indicated that he was actively following the Zondo commission set up to investigate state capture in the country, adding that he had become ‘infuriated’  how witnesses in the high-profile inquiry have painted his family as the masterminds of widespread government looting.

Despite this, Gupta said that he and his two brothers had no immediate plans to return to South Africa over fears of wrongful arrest.

The inquiry’s leaders have rejected the Guptas’ offers to testify by video conference or other means – creating the possibility that the wide-ranging government inquiry will not hear from some of the main characters.

“I’m not saying that I’m not coming to the commission,” said Gupta. “I will, but not this moment – I want to clear my name.”

Caught in the crossfire

When asked as to what role he and his family played in state capture in South Africa, Gupta forcefully rejected accusations made in the hearings against his family – including that he and his brothers offered ministerial positions on the president’s behalf in return for favours.

He added that instead of being the architects of government corruption, his family had been caught in the crossfire between rival ANC factions and their business allies.

Despite the many accusations levelled against his family, Gupta noted that prosecutors had charged them only once – in the case involving Estina dairy farm.

“Was Ajay Gupta or Gupta family proven guilty? One place? One smallest thing?” Gupta asked.

Nene

Speaking on the resignation of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, Gupta said that there had been nothing untoward about Nene’s visits to his home.

He added that the Gupta family had never asked any minister for any commercial benefit.

Over the years countless senior politicians from the A.N.C. and the opposition had visited his home, Gupta said.

“Who did not come and meet me? Or I not meet with them?”

“Meeting with people, there’s nothing wrong. Every business organisation meets with the politicians and the people.”

You can read the full interview in the New York Times here.


Read: How the Guptas tried to get control of a new R42 billion city

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What Ajay Gupta said in his first major interview since leaving South Africa