Alleged 'Gupta middle-man' set to cross-examine Mcebisi Jonas
Johannesburg - Controversial businessman Fana Hlongwane has been granted leave to cross-examine former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas at the state capture inquiry.
The chairperson of the inquiry deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo has also granted former president Jacob Zuma's former chief of staff Laleka Kaunda permission to cross-examine Vytjie Mentor.
Hlongwane was implicated in Mcebisi Jonas's testimony when he told the inquiry that the businessman was present, along with Duduzane Zuma, when Ajay Gupta offered him a ministerial post and R600 million if he agrees to take up the post in 2015.
The businessman has also told the inquiry that he is willing to appear before it to give his version of events. Zondo has granted him permission to test Jonas' submissions.
Kaunda was implicated him Vytjie Mentor's testimony. Mentor told the inquiry that it was Kaunda who arranged her 2010 meeting with the Gupta brothers at the Saxonworld compound. The former ANC MP has claimed that during that meeting Ajay Gupta offered her a ministerial post as the minister of public enterprises.
Mentor had also implicated Hawks official Mandla Mtolo in her testimony and he has been granted permission to cross-examine her.
Zondo has reserved judgment on applications to cross-examine from Ajay Gupta, Duduzane Zuma, and Rajesh Gupta.
While suspended head of the Hawks anti-corruption task team Zinhle Mnonopi has withdrawn her application to cross-examine Jonas.
Mnonopi's legal counsel Vincent Siwela said Mnonopi has decided to withdraw her application as she fears it might "prejudice" her.
She was recently placed on suspension by Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Sibiya two weeks ago after she was implicated in Jonas’ testimony at the inquiry.
Legal arguments for Guptas to testify via video link
Advocate Vincent Maleka, who is part of the commission’s legal team, has argued to Zondo that he should not grant the Gupta brothers, Ajay and Rajesh, permission to give evidence from Dubai via video link.
The Gupta's legal counsel Advocate Mike Hellens had argued to Zondo that his clients were willing to appear before the commission but were unwilling to do so from South Africa as they were unclear if there was a warrant of arrest out for them and if they were fugitives from justice.
Hellens argued that his clients had seen the abuse of power by the Hawks and the NPA, in previous botched cases involving their associates and businesses, and this made them unwilling to subject themselves to that abuse of power.
"On their approach, they do not trust our law enforcement officials and they do not trust our judiciary that they would come to their rescue if there was an abuse of power. One can not allow individuals who adopt these inconsistent positions to render the processes of the commission useless," said Maleka.
"The Gupta brothers want to have a selective treatment of the law. Mr. Duduzane Zuma had the courage to face those "incompetent" law enforcement agencies by coming back to the country, what is so different about his business partners (Guptas)?,” asked Maleka.
The inquiry continues.IOL