‘I did not meet the Guptas directly‚’ Gordhan tells Zondo commission

“I had no direct or one-on-one meetings with the Guptas‚” he said.

NOVEMBER 20, 2018. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday continued with his testimony at the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture. Meanwhile, the EFF demonstrated outside the building. The party laid a charge against Gordhan with the Public Protector, as he had previously stated in an answer to a parliamentary question that he had not met the Guptas. EFF leader Julius Malema addressed the crowd late on Tuesday afternoon.PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY

Gordhan was giving evidence as the Economic Freedom Fighters protested outside‚ calling for his resignation.

“I refused to schedule a meeting with the Gupta family at their residence or anywhere else‚” he said.

The minister denied misleading parliament when he had said he did not have meetings with the family.

Controversy emerged when Gordhan’s submissions to the inquiry were leaked and noted that in a 2010 meeting with Indian businessman Anil Ambani‚ Ajay Gupta was present.

“I refused to schedule a meeting with the Gupta family at their residence or anywhere else‚” he said.

Gordhan insisted that he did not recall that Ajay Gupta was there.

“I would not lie to parliament… If I wanted to lie‚ Mr Chair‚ I could have left this meeting out [of his testimony] and you wouldn’t have been wiser‚” he said.

NOVEMBER 19, 2018. Pravin Gordhan arrives. “Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan appeared before the state capture inquiry on Monday “Gordhan was expected to appear before the commission last month, but deputy chief justice Raymond ZondoÕs legal team brought an application to postpone proceedings. Earlier this month, Zondo released a press statement saying there would be an investigation into leaked witness statements. This came after Gordhan’s affidavit was leaked to the media. In his affidavit, Gordhan said he was first introduced to the Gupta family by Zuma. He admitted to meeting Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani in 2010, while he was serving as finance minister, at the behest of one of the Gupta brothers and thereafter only ever encountered the family at public events.” PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY

Gordhan reiterated that he did not visit the Gupta’s Saxonwold compound‚ he had cancelled the New Age-sponsored business breakfasts before the 2016 budget and had also refused to help the Guptas when their bank accounts were closed.

He said it was quite clear where he stood in relation to the family‚ including the Treasury’s refusal to do anything with Denel Asia‚ which was linked to the Guptas.

Gordhan reiterated that he was “not for sale”.

The EFF has been protesting for two days outside the building where Gordhan has been testifying. EFF deputy president Floyd Shivumbu‚ has called Gordhan an enabler of state capture‚ and insisted that Gordhan lied to parliament.

By: Qaanitah Hunter

Source: TMG Digital.

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