Nearly R20m seized from Gupta-owned Sahara Computers by Reserve Bank
Cape Town – The National Treasury has issued an order for the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) to seize R19.6 million from the Gupta-owned Sahara Computers.
Yesterday, the government gazette published a notice by Sarb deputy governor Kuben Naidoo for the forfeiture of the money and any interest accrued from Sahara’s Nedbank account and its deposit into the National Revenue Fund.
Naidoo said: ’’By virtue of the functions, powers and or duties vested in me in my capacity as the deputy governor of SARB, in terms of the delegation and as assignment of the functions, powers and/or duties referred to above, I hereby give notice of a decision to forfeit to the state the following money, and I hereby declare and order forfeits to the state the following money namely: the amount of R19 669 000 standing to the credit of the respondent in account number ***** held within Nedbank Limited, together with any interest thereof or any other accrual thereto.”
Established in 1994 by controversial Gupta brothers Ajay, Rajesh and Atul, Sahara Computers was an independent IT distributor in Southern Africa, with its flagship products including desktop computers, notebooks, netbooks, digital cameras, storage devices and other lifestyle products. During its prime, Sahara Computers was the Guptas' biggest asset in South Africa’s ICT sector.
Problems started at the company after the alleged close ties between the Guptas and former president Jacob Zuma drew widespread criticism. This after South African banks already declined to do business with the Gupta brothers in 2016.
In 2019, the US Treasury Department sanctioned Ajay Gupta, Atul Gupta, Rajesh Gupta and Gupta associate Salim Essa, labelling them “members of a significant corruption network in SA that leveraged overpayments on government contracts, bribery, and other corrupt acts to fund political contributions and influence government actions”.
While evidence continues to be heard by the Zondo Commission on state capture, the Gupta brothers are reportedly living in Dubai.