Why was Lynne Brown aide's Dubai bill sent to the Guptas?
Minister's PA Kim Davids insists she paid her own way but cannot explain why a detailed invoice bearing her name was sent to the Guptas to settle
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 home in the United Arab Emirates city.
The Times has discovered details of the trip in the leaked Gupta e-mails. Brown’s PA Kim Davids on Tuesday confirmed she had been in Dubai in the period indicated in the e-mails, but insisted 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 their 10-bedroom villa.
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 a Davids’s stay at the five-star Oberoi hotel.
The hotel has become infamous for being the go-to place to holiday for the Guptas’ guests, including a gaggle of South African cabinet ministers.
At the time that Davids stayed at the hotel, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and former finance minister Des van Rooyen were also staying there at the Gupta family’s expense.
Public Enterprises spokesman Colin Cruywagen told The Times that Davids was on leave in December 2015 and had complied with regulations regarding her leave.
He said Brown had been in South Africa at the time.
On Tuesday the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse made representations to parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises on the extent of state capture in South Africa. In its dossier of alleged evidence on state capture were the names of several Gupta lieutenants and their deployees. Davids’s name is mentioned briefly among those with alleged links to the Guptas.
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 fiancé 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 to by The Times.
The details of the Dubai visit emerge at a time when Brown is under increasing scrutiny and pressure over revelations over the Gupta family’s influence and deals with state-owned entities over which she presides.
Cruywagen said Brown supported the Hawks' investigations into allegations of corruption.
“There are no [sacred cows]. The investigators must do their work. The department has been instructed to assist the probe by making documents and officials available to the investigation as required.”