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So, Ajay Gupta can return to SA, but will he appear before Zondo?


So, Ajay Gupta can return to SA, but will he appear before Zondo?

With his arrest warrant having been cancelled, his lawyers remain noncommittal on his plans


Ajay Gupta is no longer a fugitive from justice.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed in writing that the arrest warrant against him for corruption has now been cancelled.
The cancellation of the warrant, issued in connection with an alleged attempt to bribe former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas to take over as finance minister and do the Gupta family’s bidding, means Ajay Gupta can return to SA without fear of arrest.
But his lawyers have declined to comment on whether he will return to testify at the Zondo inquiry into state capture.
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo has repeatedly refused the Gupta family the right to cross-examine any of the state capture inquiry witnesses against them, on the basis that they refused to return to SA to do so.
The NPA last month withdrew corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane in connection with the same case Ajay Gupta was wanted for, on the basis that “Mr Jonas’s evidence before the state capture commission led by deputy chief justice Zondo has not been finalised”.
NPA deputy director Bulelwa Vimbani-Shuma stated “it is in the interests of justice not to proceed with the case at this stage”.
As a result of the withdrawal of charges against Zuma junior, the Guptas’ lawyers demanded answers from the state on whether there was still an active warrant of arrest for Ajay Gupta.
Vimbani-Shuma responded in a letter sent on Monday that “the warrant of arrest issued at the same time that an arrest warrant was issued against Mr Duduzane Zuma has been cancelled by [the Hawks]”.
The Hawks on Thursday stressed to Times Select that the cancellation of the warrant against Ajay did not amount to a vindication of him as a suspect, but was rather the inevitable legal consequence of the case against Duduzane Zuma being provisionally withdrawn. Those charges may be reinstated at a later date.
Jonas initially claimed it was Ajay Gupta who offered him R600m to take over as finance minister from then minister Nhlanhla Nene, but later told the Zondo commission he could not rule out the possibility that the brother he spoke to was, in fact, Rajesh Gupta.
Ajay Gupta maintains he was not at the family’s Saxonwold compound when Duduzane Zuma and former arms deal adviser Fana Hlongwane met with Jonas, while Rajesh maintains he did not speak to Jonas.
Both Zuma and Hlongwane deny there were any attempts by the Guptas to bribe or threaten Jonas, and maintain the purpose for their meeting was to discuss rumours that Jonas was being blackmailed by Hlongwane.
Lawyers for both men have successfully applied to cross-examine Jonas on his testimony, with the undertaking that they will take the stand and themselves face cross-examination.

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