by Jonathan Katzenellenbogen
3 November 2016
Denel’s links with the Gupta family are to be investigated in the second phase of the State Capture inquiry that the Public Protector has said should be headed by a judge.
The former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, said that the state owned defence company’s links with Gupta-connected VR Laser as well as the establishment of Denel Asia, should form part of the next phase of the investigation.
Madonsela, whose term of office ended last month, left it up to the proposed judge-led inquiry to look into contracts between Denel and VR Laser Services.
Yesterday President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers dropped an attempt to halt the release of a long awaited report on the alleged role played by the Gupta family in influencing government. The report raised “serious concerns” about a range of actions including the influence of the Gupta’s in the selection of government ministers and the close links between Eskom and the family.
In the State Capture report released yesterday, Madonsela lists the allegations about Denel made in an article published in the 5 February 2016 article in the Mail and Guardian headlined “Guptas conquer state arms firm Denel”.
The Mail and Guardian reported on claims about the establishment of Denel Asia as a means for the Gupta’s to profit from the state owned company’s sales. It alleged that the joint venture with the Guptas had been concluded while Denel’s permanent Chief Executive, Chief Financial Officer, and Company Secretary had been suspended.