R2 million reward for Guptas, Zuma
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As the Hawks continued their hunt for Gupta family patriarch Ajay, they are also reportedly intensifying their search for former president Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane.
Duduzane and Ajay, at the centre of state capture allegations, have been evading arrest since Wednesday after the Hawks raided the Gupta mansion in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
They are being sought for their alleged role in the fraud scandal at the Estina dairy farm in Vrede in the Free State, which saw politicians and businesspeople pocketing millions from the project earmarked for emerging black farmers.
Ajay’s brothers, Atul and Rajesh, also known as Tony, are also being sought for their role in the suspected fraud. An unnamed Chinese businessman and his wife are also believed to have fled South Africa.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Twitter yesterday: “We have bilateral (agreements) with other countries - those who are on the run will be sought after working with Interpol and other law enforcement agencies.”
In a TV interview with a news channel, Mbalula refused to confirm whether Duduzane is among the suspects.
Forensic consultant Paul O’Sullivan’s organisation, Forensics for Justice, offered up to R500 000 for information leading to the arrest of any or all three of the Gupta brothers and Duduzane.
“These people have almost brought South Africa to its knees, it’s now time to bring them to justice. We are offering R100 000 for information leading to the arrest of each one of them and a bonus of R100 000 if the same informant gives information leading to the arrest of all four of them,” a statement on the organisation’s website reads.
The reward offer expired at midnight on Sunday.
At the weekend, billionaire Magda Wierzycka offered a R900 000 reward to bring the men to book.
Wierzycka said yesterday the reward for information relating to the whereabouts of the Gupta brothers and Duduzane is R500 000, but the information must lead to their arrest.
A total of R200 000 is being offered to the first bodyguard to notify authorities of the whereabouts of Ajay in particular, she said.
Another R200 000 is being offered to the first person to turn State witness in the Estina case.
“From what we know... these people are being sheltered by bodyguards, potentially other people who know where they are. It is also meant to be an incentive for those people to do the right thing and advise the authorities about where these individuals are. It could be a girlfriend or wife.”
She has received tip-offs, including information that the men were hiding in Lesotho, have been spotted in India or are on flights to Dubai.
“If any of these tip-offs are real, I will very happily pay the reward.”
She said the reward could increase as the case developed, and called on authorities to keep the public informed of progress in the case.
On social media, others have also pledged to increase the amount. Phiwa Nkambule, the co-founder and chief executive of Riovic, an insurance technology company, said he would top the existing reward with R400 000.
According to reports by the Hindustan Times, government officials confirmed the brothers enjoy “paid” Z-category security provided by the Uttarakhand government.
Originally from Saharanpur, the Gupta brothers own a plush bungalow in Dehradun’s posh Curzon Road area. Police personnel provide them security, besides guarding their mansion, during the Gupta family members’ occasional visits to the town.
Officials familiar with the issue told the Hindustan Times Ajay was in his Curzon Road mansion the day former president Jacob Zuma resigned following allegations of corruption.
A day later, he flew to an unknown destination in a helicopter, the person said, adding that the high-flying Gupta brothers rubbed shoulders with bigwigs of the Bharatiya Janata Party, one of the two major political parties in India.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said yesterday authorities were doing everything in their power.
“We are using all resources at our disposal to make sure that we trace him. On Friday there was also mention by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) that the suspect is not in the country. It is a matter that we are still going to look at between ourselves and Acsa.
“Any other matters that relates to why we’re looking for him, it’s issues that will remain confidential until such time we make it public. We have contacted his (Ajay) lawyers. Nothing has come forward as yet,” Mulaudzi said.
He added that the Hawks were not party to any reward being offered.
“These rewards are out there and anything that happens will be the responsibility of those people (offering the rewards). It should have been something that was discussed with us before they voluntarily made such rewards.”
Forensics for Justice can be reached on 0800 118 118. Call Crime Stop on 08600-10111 or SMS Crime Line 32211.