Lawyers to one of the Gupta brothers, Ajay, on Tuesday, wrote to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, saying should her state capture report include that Zuma was influenced by them [Guptas], she would be doing so at her “own peril”.
“If you choose to include that my clients were in any way whatsoever involved in inappropriate conduct under circumstances where we have tendered evidence to the contrary and under circumstances where we had a clear right to contradict the evidence you have gathered, you do at your own peril and at your own risk,” Van der Merwe Associates said on behalf of the Guptas.
The Gupta family and their relationship with President Jacob Zuma is being investigated by the outgoing Public Protector’s office. The investigation seeks to determine if the president was unduly influenced by the controversial family.
Speaking further, the lawyers asserted that Madonsela’s conduct in the investigation depicts that she had a clear predetermined view of her report into allegations of state capture.
The Gupta brothers also alleged in the statement that the Public Protector’s evidence into the investigation is a mere “window dressing” for a decision reached long before the family’s version in the matter.
Meanwhile, Madonsela says the findings of her probe will be released in two parts, the first will be on Friday – which is her last day in office.
“It was always going to be a two-phased and this phase will tell the story that we know by now and whatever else needs to be done, we’ll indicate what needs to be done and who will do it,” she told reporters last night.
On Tuesday, the Public Protector urged President Zuma to cooperate with her in the long-running investigation by submitting answers to questions posed to him on the allegation.
Her plea came after the President made a dramatic U-turn on the matter. Zuma on Monday requested that he or his legal representative must be allowed to question the witnesses who were earlier interrogated by the Public Protector. He also insisted that he must go through Madonsela’s evidence gathered in the course of the investigation.
The president made the above requests after Madonsela refused to have the case deferred to the incoming Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.