The Hawks in Gauteng has accused the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) of trying to stop it from finalizing its investigation into the Gupta family.
The Hawks said the FIC had refused to co-operate with them in seeing that the investigation into the two different cases lodged against the family was carried out.
Two cases were lodged against the Guptas in the police unit’s Gauteng branch. One of the cases was filed by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which featured transactions worth R6.8bn involving the Gupta family and which were under scrutiny.
This was submitted to the Hawks Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s application to the High Court in Pretoria.
The second docket was opened by Civil rights group AfriForum which had former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report as a basis for an investigation.
The two institutions made mention of the suspicious financial transactions involving the influential family, although Madonsela’s report was more detailed and mentioned more suspects. Hence, the two dockets were combined, says Head of the Hawks in Gauteng, Major General Prince Mokotedi,
Mokotedi said that as soon as the dockets had been opened, he assembled a team to investigate and instructed the investigators to get the Gupta’s financial transaction report from the FIC.
“We need that report in order to further our investigation,” he said, adding that he sent a team to the offices of FIC three times to get copies of the more than 70 suspected irregular transactions by the Gupta family and their businesses, as laid out in Gordhan’s application, but they were turned away.
“The FIC said they will not give us the reports unless we have prima facie evidence that a crime has been committed,
“It has left us hamstrung. It means the case is not moving as fast as it could and frankly, unless we get those reports, we do not know how we can move forward.
“Unless we have those reports in our hands, we cannot give that evidence, unless we get co-operation it could mean the closure of those dockets.” Mokotedi said.
The FIC, on the other hand, responded saying it operates under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act of 2001 (Act 38 of 2001) which “has inherent channels for law enforcement and other competent authorities, including the Hawks, to request information from the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) in support of ongoing investigations”.
“The law enforcement and other competent authorities are fully aware of the legal process required to be followed in respect of requests for information,” News24 reported the centre saying.
The FIC also said they do not respond to requests “which are made outside of the law and continues to support law enforcement and other competent authorities as part of its mandate” and that they co-operated with law enforcement agencies and have processed thousands of requests for information since its establishment.
“The FIC has never denied any lawful request for information that is compliant with the Act, and refutes any suggestion that it is uncooperative.” the center stated.
Meanwhile, the EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, who first opened the docket, said the Hawks’ investigators had indicated they wanted to meet him to update him on the investigation.
He said “If the FIC is not co-operating with the investigation, we plan to write them a letter to ask them why this is the case. We will follow up on this.”
A lawyer for the Gupta family, Gert van der Merwe, said they were also struggling to get the detailed report from the FIC.