Gupta ally called to appear before Home Affairs committee

Parliament is gunning for the Guptas, with one of their key lieutenants to be hauled before MPs to answer questions on the naturalisation of the family.

The summoning of Gupta ally Ashu Chawla to appear before the Home Affairs portfolio committee comes after earlier attempts to get him to Parliament.

Former Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni will also appear before the committee to give more evidence.

In addition, former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba might be called back to the committee, depending on Apleni’s evidence.

Committee chairperson Hlomani Chauke said on Saturday that the committee’s probe into the naturalisation of the Guptas would continue in the next two weeks and they want Chawla in the stand.

Chauke said Apleni, who left Home Affairs a few months ago to join a bank, would be questioned by members of the committee.

Several senior Home Affairs officials have testified before the committee on the naturalisation of the Guptas.

Gigaba appeared before MPs in October, when he denied having any involvement in the matter, saying that he had no personal relationship with the family.

The Guptas have been accused of benefiting from state resources over the past few years. Former president Jacob Zuma has admitted that the Guptas are his friends.

Chauke said they wanted to finalise their investigation into the matter of the Guptas’ naturalisation soon and to table a report in Parliament.

He said they expected Chawla to appear before the committee after they sent a summons to his lawyers. He said the onus was on Chawla to appear before the committee.

“Once we have issued the summons, the onus is on him.

“After that we will close the matter and table a report in Parliament,” said Chauke.

The Home Affairs committee was one of several portfolio committees asked by Parliament in 2017 to investigate state capture.

The portfolio committee on public enterprises led an inquiry into the corruption at power utility Eskom where several senior officials and Gigaba, who was Minister of Public Enterprises after 2010, and his successor, Lynne Brown, were implicated in wrongdoing.

The committee has handed its report to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture for more evidence to be led there.

The report has also asked Gigaba, Brown, former chief executives Brian Molefe and Matshela Koko and former chairpersons Ben Ngubane and Zola Tsotsi to go to the Zondo Commission.

Sunday Independent

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