Gupta brothers Ajay and Atul. File picture: Supplied
Parliament - Members of Parliament have lamented the slow pace of the probe into the naturalisation of some members of the Gupta family, warning the investigation risks collapsing if not built on solid information.

The parliamentarians from various parties also warned the institution’s research unit and legal services not to be enticed with bribes from people who wanted to “water down everything that is happening against the Guptas”.

This comes after the Bloemfontein High Court’s decision to lift the freeze on R250million of asserts belonging to the Guptas.

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The MPs urged that no stone be left unturned in the preliminary investigation into the state capture inquiry for the Home Affairs Department.

This emerged when the researcher for the Home Affairs portfolio committee gave an update on the investigation to determine what type of inquiry needed to be pursued.

The research unit and legal services were expected to report on the verification of documents that the department used to grant early naturalisation to Gupta family members in 2015.

They were expected to look into the issuing of work permits to employees at the TV station ANN7 and other Gupta-related companies as well as granting of citizenship under different ministers.

During the briefing on the preliminary probe, the committee heard that much work still needed to be done in collecting and analysing information.

Some information was still being awaited from the departments of Home Affairs, Labour and North West Education, a move that led to the interim report not being compiled.

The placement of adverts in newspapers calling on the public to make submissions and a trip to interview potential interviewees still had to be authorised.

The MPs expressed displeasure with the turn of events.

Committee chairperson Hlomane Chauke said they had expected a report on the conflicting information submitted by the Home Affairs Department.

“That information is very important for us,” Chauke said.

He added they viewed verification of donations made by the Guptas and also used as the basis to grant citizenship as critical.

“We have not done much. Much of the work that we were supposed to do, I feel you have not done; it for us to break through this issue,” he said.

Chauke added there should be a strong foundation in the preliminary investigation, otherwise the inquiry would collapse. “It is a serious matter that can’t be watered down. That is not the intention of this committee. All of us have made it clear that we have to get to the bottom of this matter,” he said.

While the ANC’s Maesela Kekana commended the work done so far, he said it was not enough.

“We want you not to start where you want.

“Do as we instructed you,” he said.

Kekana also cautioned against bribes during the course of the investigation.

“I believe no one will be bought in this process. I know there are people with nice suitcases who are making sure they water down everything that is happening against the Guptas,” Kekana said.

He was referring to the Eskom inquiry, which was marred by allegations that former state security minister Bongani Bongo allegedly tried to bribe the evidence leader for the Public Enterprises inquiry, advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara.

The EFF’s Hlengiwe Hlophe- Mkalipi said there should be no excuse for the Home Affairs Department not to provide the requested information.

“They are the ones who are supposed to help.

“If people are bought in this process, we can’t allow that,” Hlophe-Mkalipi added.

The DA’s Haniff Hoosen urged the research unit and legal services to “make sure to get to the bottom of the things”.

Hoosen said the investigation should go beyond the naturalisation of the Guptas and include the broader issues on state capture in the Home Affairs Department.

Political Bureau