SANDF denies new Gupta probe

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IOL waterkloof gupta INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS The Jet Airways Airbus A330-200 that brought the Gupta family members and guests to Waterkloof Air Force Base. File picture: Phill Magakoe

Johannesburg - The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) on Wednesday denied reports that a second investigation has been launched into the Gupta family's landing of a private aircraft at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

“It is not true,” said SANDF spokesman Brig-Gen Xolani Mabanga. “I don't know anything about that.”

He further denied speaking to the journalist who penned the article published in the Sowetan.

In the report, Mabanga is quoted as saying an additional investigation is underway, while another was pending.

“The charges against one accused were withdrawn due to insufficient evidence,” he was quoted as saying.

“An application to consider charges against an additional accused was forwarded to the director of military prosecutions for consideration. The decision is pending.”

A chartered commercial aircraft, Jet Airways flight JAI 9900 from India, ferrying more than 200 guests for the wedding of Vega Gupta, 23, and Indian-born Aakash Jahajgarhia, landed at the base in April last year.

The passengers were then transported, either by light aircraft, helicopter, or in police-escorted vehicles, to the ceremony at Sun City's Palace of the Lost City in North West.

The landing sparked widespread criticism and several investigations were launched. President Jacob Zuma reportedly has close ties with the Gupta family.

A government investigation exonerated Zuma and his ministers, and found the landing was the result of “collusion by officials”.

In October, four SANDF officials - Colonel Nomsa Khumalo, lieutenant-colonels Christo Van Zyl and Christine Anderson, and Warrant Officer Thabo Ntshisi - appeared in a military court at the Thaba Tshwane military base in Pretoria over the scandal.

They were charged with contravening various sections of the military defence code.

In October, a trial date had not been set down and it was to be decided by the military's prosecuting authorities.

The SANDF was unable to provide a date. At the time, media were not allowed to enter the court. - Sapa


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