21 November 2019
Former state security minister and currently African National Congress member of parliament Bongani Bongo (in picture) was arrested on corruption-related charges. He appeared in the Cape Town magistrate’s court facing 13 charges of corruption and was released on R5,000 bail and the case was postponed to January 31.
Two years ago, the Sunday Times reported that Bongo allegedly offered bribe to advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara for scuppering a probe into mismanagement and corruption at Eskom. In a sworn affidavit, Vanara alleged that Bongo was offering the alleged bribe on instructions of Eskom’s management team and board members at the time. Ntuthuzelo Vanara was then the evidence leader of the parliamentary inquiry into the state capture of Eskom, Transnet and Denel.
Bongo was appointed state security minister by former President Jacob Zuma just a few weeks after allegedly offering Vanara the alleged bribe.
Eskom, state owned power company, paid a Gupta-owned mine nearly R1 billion for coal it did not receive, despite the utility reporting that its coal supply was at record lows that led to blackouts. The plants are supplied by mines owned by Tegeta Exploration and Resources, in turn, owned by the Guptas’ Oakbay Investments.
Eskom paid R705 million to Optimum since March, because of contractual obligations largely fixed by former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane and axed-acting group chief executive Matshela Koko.
But, Gupta-owned Tegeta Resources and Energy exported the four million tons of coal at an average price of R800 to R1 000 a ton, netting a profit of around R3bn, which was quickly divested out of the country.
In the meantime, Global Targeting Office of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the U.S. Department of State sanctioned the Gupta Family for bribery, corruption and misappropriation of South African State assets. Treasury has now designated three brothers, Ajay Gupta, Atul Gupta, and Rajesh Gupta, as well as their business associate, Salim Essa, for alleged massive corruption.
According to OFAC, the Guptas, aided by Salim Essa, used close ties to the former South African President Jacob Zuma, to expand the family’s business interests and misappropriate hundreds of millions of dollars through illicit dealings with the South African government.
As a result of these designations, the property or interests of all four individuals, as well as the property of any entities that are owned fifty percent or more by them, which are in the United States or the possession or control of a U.S. person, are now blocked. Additionally, the Guptas and their criminal network are now excluded from the U.S. financial system as U.S. persons, including U.S. correspondent banks, are prohibited from dealing with them.