Former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane was granted bail of R100 000 in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Johannesburg, where he appeared on corruption charges yesterday morning. The charges relate to his alleged involvement in the attempted bribery by the Guptas of former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas in 2016. Zuma is due back in court on January 24, 2019.Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban- The state has accused former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane of playing a central role in facilitating a meeting at which one of the Gupta brothers offered former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas the job of finance minister.

At the heart of the Hawks’ charge sheet against Duduzane is that he repeatedly tried to secure a meeting with Jonas before he invited him to the Guptas’ family compound in Saxonwold, Joburg.

On Monday, Duduzane, who was in shackles, briefly appeared in the Specialized Commercial Crime Court in Joburg in relation to his alleged involvement in the bribery attempts by the Guptas of Jonas, before he was released on bail of R100000. He was charged with one count of corruption, and an alternative count of conspiracy to commit corruption.

The eldest Gupta brother, Ajay, is alleged to have offered Jonas the post of finance minister together with R600000 cash if he agreed, in a move claimed to be one of the family’s boldest attempts to capture the National Treasury.

The criminal charges against Duduzane stem from allegations made by Jonas in relation to a 2015 meeting held in Rosebank, Joburg, in which he was asked to agree to the finance ministerial post in exchange for financial reward.

While Duduzane confirmed having been part of the meeting - which included businessman Fana Hlongwane - he denied Jonas was offered the ministerial post or that there were talks about plans to fire then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.

According to Duduzane’s charge sheet, he is accused of playing a central role in securing the meeting.

“During October 2015, the accused on various occasions contacted Mcebisi Jonas, requesting to meet him. On October 2015, they met together with one Fana Hlongwane at the Hyatt in Rosebank, whereupon the accused suggested they move to a more private venue in Saxonwold.

“At the accused’s direction, the parties met at the residence of Ajay Gupta in Saxonwold. At this meeting Mr Ajay Gupta, in the presence of the accused, offered Mcebisi Jonas the position of finance minister, advising him that the current minister of finance was to be relieved of his position in the cabinet,” reads the charge sheet.

Ajay had allegedly boasted that the Guptas had made Duduzane a billionaire, saying that Jonas would be rewarded with R600million in deposits, on top of the offer of R600000 cash, which he would be given on the spot.

The Guptas have gained notoriety in recent years amid growing allegations that they were using their friendship with Jacob Zuma to influence key appointments and state procurements, and looting the state coffers in the process.

In the charge sheet, the State has also described Duduzane as a business associate of the Gupta family, involved in their business ventures with government departments and state-owned entities, including Eskom, Transnet, SA Express and the Free State Department of Agriculture.

The charge against Duduzane is the first case against those implicated in state capture. National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said there was already an arrangement for Duduzane to hand himself over to the Johannesburg Central police station before he was granted bail, after the State asked for a six-month postponement.

“The case has been postponed to January 24. We have asked for a lengthy postponement because of the nature of the investigations that still need to be conducted.

The conditions for bail are that he has to hand over his passport to the state, and when he needs to travel out of town he needs to consult with the investigating officer,” Mjonondwane said.

The 34-year-old’s strict bail conditions, released by Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, include that:

He does not directly or indirectly communicate with witnesses.

He reports to the Rosebank police station every Tuesday and Friday between 8am and 5pm.

He surrenders his two passports to the investigating officer.

Mulaudzi added that Duduzane was alsobarred from securingany additional travel documents and that he would have to secure the approval of the investigating officer, even if he was moving to another province.

“He must not apply for any travel documentation permitting him to leave the borders of South Africa, until the finalisation of this case.

“He must inform the investigating officer if he is to travel outside of Gauteng or internationally with sufficient detail of his travel and itinerary,” Mulaudzi said.

On Thursday, Duduzane is set to once against appear in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on separate charges relating to culpable homicide. The charges are in connection with a vehicle accident in which two people died in February 2014, when Duduzane’s Porsche collided with a taxi on the M1 in Joburg after he lost control of his sports car.

Daily News