National treasury was a “stumbling block” to the Guptas’ business ambitions and the family asked deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas to sack its director-general, according to former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s “state capture” report.
He would have had to do this if he had accepted the Guptas’ offer of becoming finance minister. He turned them down.
Madonsela’s long-awaited report on “state capture” was released on Wednesday, following a court order. In it she expresses concerns about the Gupta family’s involvement in the removal of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December last year.
Madonsela interviewed Jonas after he said the Gupta family offered him Nene’s job.
He told Madonsela the family offered him R600 000 in cash during a meeting at their Saxonwold, Johannesburg residence.
“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; he apparently indicated that they were well aware of his activities and his connections to Mr [Gwede] Mantashe and the treasurer of the ANC, Dr Zweli Mkhize, alleging that he was part of a faction or process towards undermining President Zuma,” the report states.
Jonas was informed that the Guptas would make him finance minister.
“Jonas reported that he was shocked and irritated by the statement. He declined the position and informed Mr Ajay Gupta that only the president of the republic can make such decisions.”
The meeting was attended by controversial businessman Fana Hlongwane and Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma.
“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,” the report states.
Ajay Gupta allegedly 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 R6bn to R8bn and that a bulk of their funds were held in Dubai. According to Mr Jonas, Mr A Gupta further indicated that national treasury was a stumbling block to the family’s business ambitions.”
Part of his job, Jonas was told, would be to remove the treasury’s director-general and other key members of its executive management.
“As Mr Jonas was walking towards the door, Mr A Gupta made a further offer of R600m 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.”
- Read the full state capture report