Johannesburg - Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas has told the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture that one of the Gupta brothers threatened to kill him if he spoke about a meeting at the Gupta compound in Saxonwold.
Jonas gave a chilling testimony as he read his witness statement recounting the timeline of when he was offered a ministerial position by one of the Gupta brothers and the days after the meeting.
The commission of inquiry into state capture, which is headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, is investigating allegations of corruption largely centred around the infamous Gupta family and former president Jacob Zuma.
Jonas said he was invited by Duduzane Zuma to a meeting but was later told that other people had to join the meeting. He was driven to the Gupta compound in Saxonwold, where to his surprise Fana Hlongwane was also present.
A Gupta brother walked in, which he believes was Ajay Gupta based on media pictures, and did not introduce himself.
Jonas said Duduzane and Hlongwane did not speak during the meeting and the only person who spoke was Gupta.
The former deputy minister said Gupta told him that former president Jacob Zuma was planning to fire then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and that he wanted to appoint him to take over the job. Gupta said the family planned to make money and that the Treasury was stumbling block.
Gupta told him he had to fire a number of people at Treasury once he was appointed.
“He said that at the moment, we, which I understood again to be the Gupta family, earn about R6 billion from the fiscus through various entities including Eskom, Transnet, and government departments. He said that they wanted to increase this amount to R6 billion. Mr Gupta said that they had determined that the National Treasury was the stumbling block for their growth and that they wanted 'to clean up' Treasury,” said Jonas.
Jonas was offered R600 million and was offered an immediate R600 000 cash payment. He refused the bribe and says Ajay was visibly upset by his refusal.
"As I was walking to the door of the house, Mr Gupta directed me to the bar area and said that they were serious about offering me R600 million, that it would be deposited into an account of my choice and that they could open an account for me and I could stash it in Dubai.''
"Mr Gupta repeated that they had information on me and if I suggested that the meeting had occurred, they would kill me,” said Jonas.
The inquiry continues.IOL