Justice Raymond Zondo who heads the commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Investigators at the commission of inquiry into state capture have brought an application seeking the admission into evidence of electronic hard drives containing email communication belonging to the Gupta family. 

The hard drives contain email communication between the Gupta family, their associates and government officials. 

The emails have now been widely known as the #Guptaleaks after they were leaked to the media in 2017 and were extensively reported on by various media publications.  

Advocate Paul Pretorius, who is part of the commission's legal team, argued the application at the inquiry on Thursday. The application was brought by the commission's head of investigators Advocate Terrence Nombembe. 

The application was supported by Brian Currin, who is a lawyer,  and had approached the commission earlier this year informing them of the hard-drives and the possibility that it could be used by the commission. 

Pretorius detailed the measures of security that the commission had taken in order to protect the drive. He said the original drive had been kept in a safe space and that the commission had made an electronic image of the original hard drive in three copies. The original cannot be used as it could risk being damaged.

The leaked emails belong to Sahara Computers, a company owned by the Gupta family, and the company would be given permission to argue their case regarding the emails, said Pretorius. The company was not given notice before the application was introduced. 

The commission also heard how two whistleblowers, who are given anonymous names "Stan" and "John", were at the centre of the electronic communication leaks as they were the ones who were in possession of the emails. 

Stan and John had approached Currin through a friend seeking to find a way to release the emails. 

Currin said Stan had not read the thousands of Gupta emails but had read enough to draw a conclusion that there was a " corrupt relationship between Duduzane Zuma, the Gupta family, and government officials". 

Pretorius argued to commission chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo that it could be hard to refute the authenticity of the emails contained in the hard drives as there could be an electronic trail that could be hard to duplicate. 

“The number of email communications comprised of transactions in the hundreds of thousands and that on its own is an indication that the probability of someone faking the totality is extremely low‚” said Pretorius. 

The inquiry continues. 

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