Gigaba denies involvement in looting of SOEs, ’purely coincidence’ it happened during his tenure
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Johannesburg - Former Public Enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba has denied any involvement in the looting of state-owned enterprises (SOE) by the controversial Gupta family.
On Wednesday, Gigaba and his legal team avoided answering a question on whether Gigaba accepted cash payments and where he got the cash from.
Giving evidence relating to Transnet at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture this morning, Gigaba’s representative asked Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that he had informed evidence leader Anton Myburgh that Gigaba needed more time to go over that affidavit.
Myburgh had said that he gave Gigaba’s representative the affidavit via e-mail yesterday regarding cash payment of school fees over the years, but insisted that he only had one question.
Since Gigaba’s team needed more time, Zondo asked that they put a deadline for that affidavit and it was decided on Friday.
Myburgh asked Gigaba if he had heard evidence by Paul Holden yesterday, which Gigaba said he had not.
Myburgh said to Gigaba the evidence presented by money flows shows that the extent of the looting by the Guptas is quite mind-boggling, to which Gigaba said, “Yes”.
Myburgh said from yesterday the cost to the state had increased from R49 billion to R57 billion. He said the Guptas had been engaged in co-ordinated projects and had looted the state. “Would you agree to that?” he asked Gigaba.
“I am not sure whether I’m able to agree with it, I don’t also want to dispute anything. I presume that the evidence leader is making statements,” said Gigaba.
Myburgh said subsequent looting happened under Gigaba’s tenure as Public Enterprises minister in relation to state-owned entities, particularly Transnet.
“It’s been alleged that evidence has been presented, surely that does not mean I was involved. I have stated that nothing that has been presented here places me anywhere near the money.
’’I haven't seen the money, I have not taken the money, I did not deliver the money anywhere, I have not been part of the contracts to the extent that it happened during my tenure it would be purely coincidence,” said Gigaba.
Myburgh said the Guptas could not have been able to pull off the looting project of this sophistication without Gigaba being on-site.
“Let us establish the principle here, that if I am asked a question, I am not in court. I can respond to a question as I can. I have not been told that there is a prescribed way of responding, that is not true,” said Gigaba.
Zondo jumped in, saying that Myburgh did not say that either, all he was saying was that he is still to come to a proposition he was saying to you.
“In what way was I involved?,” said Gigaba.
Gigaba said the looting in SOEs was unfortunate.
Myburgh asked Gigaba to confirm if he was the finance minister at the time the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Act amendment bill was signed on April 26, 2017, which he confirmed.
Myburgh also asked Gigaba to confirm if, at that time, South Africa was under pressure from the financial action task force (FATF) international body for the FICA bill to commence, which Gigaba confirmed.
Myburgh said it could have been said that South Africa was in violation of its international commitments regarding its anti-money laundering legislation. Gigaba responded by saying South Africa is a sovereign nation, it reserves every right to satisfy itself regarding a legislation that which is going to be passed be subject to the law and the Constitution.
“There are many international bodies which South Africa belongs to, many of them, from time to time, apply pressure on issues some of which we would have agreed to. South Africa is not an exception in this regard that countries would still want to exercise their sovereign right not to pass any legislation or law or policy without scrutinising it, ensuring laws of that country.
’’There was nothing peculiar here, it would be a sad day if we would arrive at the conclusion that international bodies can simply force upon us any policy that we must sign without satisfying ourselves. We have a Parliament which does not just receive legislation and just pass it, there are processes to be undertaken before a decision is made,” said Gigaba.
Myburgh asked Gigaba if he was a member of Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) cluster (JCPS) in 2016, to which Gigaba said: “I was the member of JCPS but it does not consist of the Home Affairs minister alone or of Malusi Gigaba, that is why the submission by Mr Momonied, who was a deputy director-general at National Treasury, is not only malicious it's disingenuous in that if the JCPS cluster was concerned about certain aspects of the legislation of the FICA amendment bill, it was not me as an individual and it was not the Department of Home Affairs that was concerned.
’’There were number of departments concerned’, including State Security, Defence and a number of others. That is why when I became finance minister, I sought to facilitate a meeting with the relevant departments in order to resolve this issue. That is why subsequently the bill went through.”
Zondo then excused Gigaba.