REPORT ON ‘STATE CAPTURE’ TO BE HANDED TO S.AFRICA’S NEW PUBLIC PROTECTOR

A report on alleged "state capture" by the wealthy Indian Gupta family will be handed over to new Public Protector Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane next Monday, the African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament said on Saturday.

The report was prepared by outgoing Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela whose term of office expires on Monday.

Earlier, Madonsela gave the report to Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete for safe keeping until the new Public Protector comes into office on Monday.

But the Parliamentary Communications Services said Mbebe had refused to look after the report.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu met with Mbete on Monday morning to discuss her purported decision to return the report to Mandosela.

The ANC Chief Whip Office said after the meeting that the Speaker has categorically distanced herself from the grossly inaccurate statement issued by the Parliamentary Communications Services as its contents neither represent her view nor her instruction to the staff of parliament on the matter, spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

The ANC was disappointed by the statement containing an outright refusal to look after the report, he said.

The Speaker has confirmed that indeed the report, as requested, is currently being kept under lock and key in Parliament and will be handed over to Mkhwebane, without delay when she assumes office on Monday, Moloto said.

"The Speaker's handling of the matter in this regard is appropriate and is accordingly fully supported and appreciated by us," said Moloto.

"We are disappointed by the inaccurate statement by an official in the Parliamentary Communications Services, which created an erroneous notion in the media that the Speaker has outrightly declined to take custody of the report," he said.

Madonsela has refused to release the report, saying it was good practice not to do so.

Therefore, it will be for the new Public Protector to release the report which might contain findings and recommendations relating to President Jacob Zuma after the Catholic Church's Dominican Order asked Madonsela to probe claims that the Gupta family had influenced Zuma in the appointment of cabinet ministers.

On Friday, the North Gauteng High Court rejected the interdict applications by Zuma and Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des van Rooyen who seek to prevent the report from being released.

The court order goes further by stating that the report will be kept in safekeeping by Parliament.

In a related development, court papers filed by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan revealed details of "suspicious" bank transactions by Gupta-owned companies totalling almost seven billion rand (about 500 million US dollars).

Gordhan on Friday launched an application in the High Court in Pretoria in the latest development in the ongoing drama around the Gupta family and their alleged abuse of state resources.

One such transaction is an amount of 1.3 billion rand (about 93 million dollars) that had allegedly been paid from the mining rehabilitation trust fund of Optimum, the coal mine the Guptas' Tegeta Exloration and Resources had purchased from international mining giant Glencore under highly controversial circumstances, to the Bank of Baroda, an Indian bank that still does business with the Guptas.

Apparently due to these suspicious transactions, all South African major banks suspended business relationship with the Guptas earlier this year.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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