Ajay and Atul Gupta File picture: Independent Media
Johannesburg - The Gupta brothers implicated in state capture allegations are facing imminent arrest in days.

The Saturday Star has reliably learnt that the brothers are in the sights of an “extremely charged and focused” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) which is about to pounce.

“The Hawks and the SAPS are focused on giving NPA Court Ready dockets” the highly placed source familiar with the investigations said. “We have been silently working hard.”

When asked if the Guptas were still in the South Africa, the source said: “We don’t foresee any suspect skipping (the) country-at least we are aware of that and made requisite plans to mitigate against it.” There had been speculation that the brothers were out the country, either in Dubai or their home country, India.

The source also hinted that others implicated in the state capture probe could also be arrested in days.

Read: Vrede Dairy: Hawks raid Ace Magashule's office

Among those in the cross-hairs of the state capture probe include President Jacob Zuma, his son Duduzane, several ministers and executive officers of a number of parastatals.

“We are investigating 17 individual state capture cases - six are in (an) advanced stage,” the source said.

The source added that the investigation had been initiated in July last year, with investigators “turning witnesses and obtaining preservation orders.”

The news of the possible arrests is the latest in a series of recent moves by the Hawks into investigating state capture allegations as revealed in the public protector’s report, and the so-called Gupta leaks.

On Friday, the Hawks raided the offices of one of Zuma’s staunchest supporters, Ace Magashule. They raided the Free State premier’s offices as part of their ongoing state capture probe, in particular into the Estina Vrede dairy farm project.

On Saturday, the Hawks are expected to raid the farm.

Last week, the Free State High Court ordered that the assets of the Guptas and those of high-ranking politicians such as Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane - accrued through a multimillion-rand Estina dairy project in the Free State, be seized.

The scale of the looting using the project, which was supposedly established while Zwane was MEC for agriculture in the province, to benefit emerging black farmers, was revealed in a preservation order granted to the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) last week by Judge Fouché Jordaan.

The court ordered that an amount not exceeding R220m “which constitutes proceeds of crime” could be seized by the AFU from various bank accounts linked to the dairy project.

The money was paid in seven tranches between April 2013 and May 2016, but soon after it had been deposited into the dairy project’s accounts, the money was transferred to the accounts of several other Gupta-linked companies.

The AFU application details how Atul Gupta personally benefited to the tune of R10m, while further stating “there was no justification for the payment of an amount payment of an amount of R14.5m to Oakbay Investments, as its core business is not agriculture.”

This comes as Zuma's position as the head of state remains precarious, with speculation rife that he might be recalled before the State of the Nation address next month.

Zuma hasn't been seen in public since the ANC elective conference at Nasrec last month, which ushered in a new ANC leadership under Cyril Ramaphosa.

on Friday, Ramaphosa was asked whether, once in power, he would grant Zuma a presidential pardon. “We have the rule of law in our country and people always want to see justice done without fear, without favour,” he told the BBC on Thursday.

This week, Ramaphosa wooed investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, promising justice for those guilty of state corruption.

“Everyone agrees that our state was captured by corrupt elements, by people who purported to be close to the president, who have been doing really bad things,” he continued.

Attempts to contact the Gupta family were unsuccessful last night.

Atul Gupta had not responded to an enquiry sent to his cellphone on Friday. The Guptas' lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, said he was not aware of any imminent arrests of members of the family.

On Friday night, Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said: “I am not aware (of imminent arrests). (There’s) too much speculation running around (sic).” 

* Additional reporting by AFP

Saturday Star