Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has laid charges of corruption and fraud against Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba‚ Department of Home Affairs official Gideon Christians‚ Rajesh Gupta and Sahara CEO Ashu Chawla.

The case against the four is outlined in an affidavit supplied to the police by Stefanie Fick‚ Outa’s head of legal affairs.

In the affidavit‚ Fick said the apparent close relationship between Christians‚ Gigaba‚ Chawla and Gupta should be investigated.

She said it appeared that Chawla and Gupta did not have to follow prescribed procedures in obtaining visas and received preferential treatment from government officials.

"In return‚ it appears that Christians was rewarded for his assistance. It also appears that Tony (Rajesh) Gupta may have had the ability to influence decisions taken by Gigaba and the reason therefore should be properly investigated‚" Fick said in her affidavit.

Gigaba was home affairs minister from May 2014 to March 2017 and Christians was the second secretary for immigration and civic services at the South African High Commission in New Delhi from February 2008 to March 2014.

Fick said that from June to August 2013‚ while Christians was in New Delhi‚ he repeatedly helped out with visas for Gupta connections‚ including for staff for the new ANN7 TV station, which was launched in August 2013.

Fick said that during August 2013‚ Chawla sent requests to Christians for more visas.

In August 2013‚ Chawla sent Christians details of a selection of secondhand Mini Coopers available for sale in SA.

"The reason for the e-mail is unclear but the nature of the relationship between the two indicates that this may well constitute a form of quid pro quo for the assistance rendered by Christians to Chawla and the Guptas."

Fick said that in October 2015 Christians was redeployed for four years to New Delhi as an assistant director‚ on the instruction of Gigaba‚ who was still home affairs minister then.

"We allege that the conduct on the part of Tony Gupta‚ Chawla and Christians constitutes‚ but is not limited to‚ the crimes of corruption and fraud."

Fick requested that elements of criminal activities such as fraud and corruption be thoroughly investigated by the police.

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