Legal expert Pierre de Vos says that the content of emails sent by and to various Gupta family members and their associates, provide undeniable proof of the extent to which the family have used their association with president, Jacob Zuma, to corrupt the state for their own personal gain.
In an article on his blog, Constitutionally Speaking, de Vos noted however, that not a single person implicated in the email leaks has suffered any consequences to date.
“The failure of those in positions of authority to act can be read as tacit or active support for the corrupt self-enrichment schemes of the Gupta family,” he said.
The legal expert said that the legitimacy of the emails should not be in question due to the sheer scale of the email leak – making them unlikely to be fake – while several people implicated in the Gupta emails have directly or implicitly admitted their authenticity.
The emails reveal serious wrongdoing on the part of cabinet ministers, board members and managers at state owned enterprises, and by the Guptas and their associates.
“Whether they provide sufficient evidence that could be used to secure criminal convictions for corruption, racketeering and money laundering, is not possible to say,” said de Vos.
“The Hawks would need to investigate the alleged criminal offences properly and fearlessly to see whether criminal convictions could be secured. They have a legal duty to do so, but whether they will is an open question.”
He said that the fact that the Hawks have not yet investigated the wrongdoing revealed by the emails, and that the courts have not yet admitted the emails into evidence or convicted somebody for a criminal offence based on the emails, does not mean they do not exist or that they are not proof of the facts revealed in them.
“It is odd to have to belabour this point, but a considerable number of people who support state capture, benefit from it, or who (for political reasons) wish to defend those implicated in it, have advanced the argument that the emails contain no evidence of wrongdoing as these emails have not yet been ‘verified’ by a court of law.”
De Vos said that while it is true that further investigation is necessary to establish whether criminal charges can be brought against those implicated, the emails themselves already provide evidence of wrongdoing. “These are not allegations, they provide proof of wrongdoing”.
“Facts remain facts, whether they have been confirmed in a court of law or not,” de Vos said.
“If your father is shot and killed in your dining room, his dead body on the floor provides evidence (pretty incontrovertible evidence at that), of the fact that your father is dead. The fact that a court has not yet confirmed that he is dead is, from a factual perspective, completely irrelevant. He remains dead, whether a court pronounces on his death or not. CCTV footage showing how your father’s business partner had shot and killed him is evidence that your father was killed by his business partner.
“The emails are like that dead body on the floor and the CCTV footage showing who killed your father. It would be beyond bizarre to insist that a commission of enquiry was required to establish whether your father is dead and whether he was shot by his business partner. Here you are sitting with your father’s lifeless body in your hands, and some crazy person, trying to protect the business partner, is insisting that there must first be a thorough enquiry before we can say for certain that your father is in fact dead.”
De Vos said that the emails provide proof that several ministers (Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane, Lynne Brown, Malusi Gigaba) have been captured by the Guptas.
He said that the emails also provide proof that several board members of state owned entities have been leaking confidential documents to the Guptas and their associates.
“This means Minister Lynne Brown is entitled to suspend or even remove these implicated people from the boards they serve on. The fact that she has not done so, provide further evidence that she supports the capturing of the state by the Guptas and is willing to protect those involved in it.”
The emails also provide proof that several high ranking officials in state owned enterprises have been doing the bidding of the Guptas.
“This means the various boards of state owned enterprises are entitled to suspend or even remove these implicated people from the positions they serve in. The fact that they have not done so, provide further evidence that the boards of state owned enterprises support the capturing of the state by the Guptas and are willing to protect those involved in it,” de Vos said.
“This does not mean that the evidence contained in the emails should not be further investigated to determine who should be prosecuted for corruption, money laundering and racketeering. It should. It means that such investigations are not required before action can be taken in the civil and political sphere against those implicated in wrongdoing. Those who hold otherwise are aiding and abetting the Guptas and their state capture scheme.”
Read the full article at Constitutionally Speaking, here