Ajay Gupta, left, and Atul Gupta. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Ajay Gupta, left, and Atul Gupta. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

Ajay Gupta has denied meeting former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas in October 2015, and offering him a bribe and the job of finance minister, calling the claim an “intentional fabrication”.

In an affidavit submitted to the state capture inquiry, Gupta alleged that on October 23 — the day he was said to have met with Jonas — he was at Oakbay’s offices in Sandton.

Here is his statement:

STATEMENT OF AJAY KUMAR GUPTA IN RELATION TO THE STATEMENT GIVEN BY MR MCEBISI JONAS

I, the undersigned,

AJAY KUMAR GUPTA

do hereby make oath and state as follows:

1 I am an adult male, and the facts contained in this statement fall within my own personal knowledge, save where otherwise indicated or stated, and are to the best of my belief both true and correct.

2 This statement is made in response to a notice in terms of Rule 3.3 of the Rules of the above Commission of Inquiry, and in particular in response to the statement of the former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Mcebisi Jonas.

3 As will be seen from the content of this statement, there are very substantial disputes of fact between what I have to say in response to the contents of Mr Jonas’s statement(s) and his version(s) made before by him on various occasions, therefore a request for permission to cross-examine Mr Jonas by my legal representatives will be filed together with this statement.

4 Naturally in this statement [I] comment on only those aspects which relate to me.

5 In this regard the statement of Mr Jonas appears to cover, broadly speaking, the following allegations:

5.1 Mr Jonas claims that he met with me on 23 October 2015 in the early afternoon at no 5 Saxonwold Drive, the Gupta Residence;

5.2 That I made alleged monetary offers to him, should he be prepared to work with me and agree to accept my proposal to him, to become the Minister of Finance of South Africa thereby implicating that I had some or other influence and/or control to appoint Cabinet Ministers;

5.3 A belated allegation in his latest signed statement, dated 8 August 2018, to the commission of the inquiry, wherein he for the first time claims that I also threatened to “kill” him, should he not co-operate with me or the Gupta family.

6 I can categorically state that I never met with Mr Jonas on the afternoon of 23 October 2015 at no 5 Saxonwold Drive at the Gupta Residence, (or on any other date, either before or thereafter). I was not even present during that time when an alleged meeting was held between the mentioned role players at the said residence, as [I] was at the Offices at Oakbay in Katherine Street, Sandton.

7 Ronica Ragavan and the other employees of Oakbay can confirm my alibi and presence at the Oakbay Office in Sandton on that afternoon. I also tendered my cell phone records to the Public Protector when she afforded me a very superficial interview opportunity during 4 October 2016, when I gave evidence of my version of the allegations levelled against me, denying the allegations in answer to the allegations levelled by Mr Jonas against me specifically, to objectively confirm my alibi on that specific afternoon. It needs to be reiterated that this interview with the Public Protector was initiated by myself at my specific request as asked to give a response to the false claims as reported in the media.

8 It is also plain and indisputable that my identity was introduced to Mr Jonas by way of a leading question suggested to him and/or photos of me being shown to him, to enable him to conclude that he in fact met with me specifically and not with anybody else, where after he accepted and claimed that he in fact did have a meeting with me.

9 He later in an application in the High Court [in] Pretoria, (which was dismissed with costs) by the then Minister of Finance, Minister Gordhan, against Oakbay Group of Companies without any qualification and/or hesitation in fact confirmed under oath that he met with me and nobody else. However in his latest statement dated 8 August 2018 to the investigators of the Commission of Inquiry on State Capture, Mr Jonas claims that he is still unsure with whom he has met on that specific day, as he did not know the Gupta brothers and have never been introduced to the Gupta brothers before and it may have been my brother Rajesh Gupta with whom he met on that specific afternoon.

10 Mr Jonas also for the first time ever incorporated in his most recent statement dated 8 August 2018 and claim that [I] threatened to kill him should he not give his co-operation to me. In his version to the Public Protector he never had such claims, even when he was specifically questioned about any threats he may have received.

11 As stated I had no meeting with Mr Jonas either on 23 October 2015 or on any other day, therefore had no discussions with him as claimed by him, made no offers of any nature to him to pay money to him should he be prepared to agree to become the Minister of Finance, or that I tell the President what to do and that I control everything, nor did I make any threats to implicate me in alleged wrongdoing in which I played no part as was not present and never met Mr Jonas. I point out that there is no Bar area on the level where the lounge is situated as alleged by Mr Jonas.

12 I also gave evidence under oath to the Public Protector denying the allegations and the version claimed by Mr Jonas and I also deposed to an affidavit in the Minister of Finance application in the High Court [in] Pretoria,which is self-explanatory. I point out that it is highly unlikely that the meeting took place, because if it did in the manner alleged by Mr Jonas, he would immediately have reported it to his nearest Police Station as he as any other ordinary citizen was legally obliged and duty bound under the Law, to do.

13 Duduzane Zuma was well known to me. Although I did not know Mr Fana Hlongwane at all at the time, I knew of him and was aware that he and Duduzane Zuma were friends. I had no business with them with regard to any meeting they planned and arranged with Mr Jonas and each other on that specific day or any other day. [I] have no knowledge of the subject matter of the meeting they had nor did I enquire about it.

CONCLUSION

14 From that which I have stated above, it appears in my view that Mr Jonas has, either by his own devising or by the devising of others, been put up to paint a false picture of me in order to make a case of the alleged wrongdoing that is the very subject matter of the Inquiry by this Commission.

15 It follows that I made no offer of a Ministerial post as described by him, I did not make any offer to him to pay him either 600 000.00 in cash or offer to pay him 600 Million in an account of his choice, I did not have any knowledge of any upcoming cabinet reshuffling and/or about Ministers that may be fired and I did not have any influence over the appointment of any members of the national executive nor did I ever had such influence.

AJAY KUMAR GUPTA

I certify that this affidavit was signed and sworn to before me at DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, on this the 2nd day of September 2018 by the deponent who acknowledged that he knows and understands the contents of this affidavit, has no objection to taking this oath, considers this oath to be binding on his conscience and uttered the following words: “I swear that the contents of this affidavit are both true and correct, so help me God.”