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

Johannesburg - The chairperson of the state capture inquiry deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo has allowed for the three #GuptaLeaks hard drives to be received as evidence at the inquiry.

Zondo made the ruling on Friday and said no one outside the commission would be allowed to have access to the data until the evidence is presented to the inquiry by the commission's legal team. 

The chair said the only circumstances where any person would be allowed to have access is if they apply seeking leave to obtain the data. 

The commission legal team on Thursday brought the application to admit the three hard drives which contain email communication between the Gupta family, its associates and government officials and heads of state-owned enterprises. 

Lawyer Brian Currin supported the application by testifying at the inquiry about the how he was allowed to have access to the emails by two whistleblowers, anonymously known as Stan and John, who obtained the emails. 

Currin told the inquiry about the lengths that he along with Stan and John took to protect the hard drives containing the emails. 

The leaked emails, which run into thousands, belong to Sahara Computers, a company owned by the Gupta family. The company will be given permission to argue their case regarding the emails, as the company was not given notice before the application was introduced

The emails were leaked to the media in 2017 and were widely reported on by various media organisations. They document the extent of the Gupta family's influence in various government departments and companies. 

With the commission having now received the hard drives as evidence, the commission's team of investigators will now have an opportunity to assess and examine the data. The inquiry has also heard how these emails far outnumber those that were leaked to the media last year. 
 
It was also revealed on Thursday how US authorities had gained access to a cloned version of the original hard drive that contained the Gupta leaked emails. Currin said the US authorities had told him that they were conducting an investigation linked to the emails. 

The original hard drive and two forensic images of the drive are being held by the commission. 

The inquiry will resume on Wednesday with the testimony of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

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