Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown’s personal assistant is at the centre of a mysterious R32,000 Dubai hotel bill and a chauffeured drive to the Gupta family’s luxury home in the United Arab Emirates.

Lynne Brown. Picture: THE TIMES
Lynne Brown. Picture: THE TIMES

Details of the trip have been discovered in the leaked Gupta e-mails. Brown’s personal assistant Kim Davids confirmed on Tuesday she had travelled to Dubai in December 2015, but said she had paid her own way.

She could not explain why a detailed invoice bearing her name had been sent to the Guptas to settle or why they had been party to arranging a chauffeur to ferry someone with her name to "L35", their luxury 10-bedroom villa in one of Dubai’s most sought-after addresses.

Invoices and documents show that in late December 2015 and early January 2016 Rajesh "Tony" Gupta and the family’s lieutenants were discussing the payment of Kim Davids’ stay at the five-star Oberoi Hotel.

The e-mails show that Davids, or her namesake, stayed in the Oberoi for four days from December 27 to December 31.

A bill of R32,269.25 for the occupant of Room 9034 was made out to the Guptas

Other e-mails between Gupta lieutenants Salim Essa and Ashu Chawla on December 26 are in response to the hotel’s reservation department — mistakenly calling Davids a man.

Further e-mails are on a trip to the Gupta home, with Chawla asking the hotel: "As discussed can you please send me the driver details who will be taking Ms Kim Davids to L35 Emirates Hills tomorrow at 9h30.... "

The hotel has become infamous for being the go-to place for the Guptas’ guests, including Cabinet ministers.

When Davids stayed at the hotel, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen were also there — at the Guptas’ expense.

Public enterprises spokesman Colin Cruywagen said Davids was on leave in December 2015.

Davids was at pains to stress there was nothing untoward about her trip. "In December 2015 I took leave and booked a holiday with my fiance in Portugal. On the way, in transit in Dubai, I fell ill, when I learned I was pregnant. We returned home, paying our own costs. I reject with contempt those unfounded allegations that cast doubt on my integrity."

She did not produce proof of her defence when asked.

The timing of the Dubai visit corresponds to the period when Brown was under increasing scrutiny over revelations of the Gupta family’s influence in deals with state-owned entities over which she now presides.

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