African Parliament welcomes move to freeze assets of Gupta family

Lawrence Kim
January 19, 2018

South African prosecutors have called for two consultancy firms to repay $130 million (£94.4 million) they earned from the state power company, Eskom.

This month Zuma agreed to set up a commission of enquiry into allegations of influence peddling by the Gupta brothers, who controlled the firm McKinsey partnered with on the 1.6 billion rand contract to advise Eskom in 2016.

On Tuesday, NPA spokesperson, Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed that the preservation order will be served on Trillian and McKinsey for assets worth the ordered amount; Mfaku said the order relates to consultancy work done by the companies for Eskom and Transnet.

They are also preparing to serve a summon to the Gupta family to freeze their assets worth R1.6-billion under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

In these types of applications, the preserved assets are placed under the control of a curator and can not be disposed of pending the final determination from the court on whether it they should confiscated. The order allows prosecutors to freeze assets pending the outcome of an investigation. "Even if Eskom chooses not to act to set aside the contract, we remain committed to returning the fees McKinsey earned in connection with the Turnaround Programme to South Africa", the firm said.

The firm claims not to have authorised any payments made by Eskom to Trillian, saying any payments by Eskom to Trillian were made by Eskom after McKinsey informed Eskom that Trillian failed its due diligence. The NPA did not respond to a request for comment. When contacted in November by Reuters, Trillian denied wrongdoing relating to the Eskom contract.

Both the Guptas and Zuma have denied the accusation. Zuma's spokesman did not reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Mmusi Maimane, leader of South Africa's largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said the Guptas and Zuma should be prosecuted for their role in state corruption.

The Guptas have always been accused of wielding undue influence on South African President Jacob Zuma, to the point where they allegedly tried to place cronies in key cabinet positions.

The Guptas are being investigated for its alleged collaboration with President Jacob Zuma and a number of senior government officials in looting the state coffers, through the awarding of lucrative contracts with state-owned enterprises to Gupta-linked families, known as state capture.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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