The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says they hope that the Commission of Inquiry into State of Capture will not hamper on-going fraud and corruption investigations at several state-owned enterprises.
This follows Thursday’s publishing of the inquiry’s Terms of Reference (ToR) in the government gazette.
The commission will amongst others, probe as to whether there were irregularities, undue enrichment and corruption in the awarding of contracts, mining licences, as well as government advertising in the Gupta-owned New Age newspapers.
The commission must also investigate the truth of allegations that former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former African National Congress (ANC) MP Vytjie Mentor were offered cabinet positions by the Gupta family.
Mentor has welcomed the terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry.
Outa’s Chief Executive Officer Wayne Duvenage says whilst they welcome the commission’s terms of references, investigations and prosecution of those implicated in State of Capture should proceed without any hindrance.
“Yes, it’s good news that there is a commission. We need a credible commission that’s given enough time. It shouldn’t scupper the need to continue with prosecutions of fraud and corruption linked to the state capture.”
Any ill-gotten gains attained through a potentially compromised relationship between President Jacob Zuma and his family and the Gupta family have made it to the highly anticipated ToR for the Zondo Commission, tasked with investigating state capture.
Zuma’s parameters mostly followed the recommendations made by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her 2016 State of Capture report.
The president’s drawing up of the ToR had become a potential sticking point with opposition parties, some ANC members, pundits and citizens, as it was feared Zuma might unnecessarily broaden or obfuscate the parameters in order to whitewash any allegations made against him and his family.
The commission is set to run over 180 days (six months), but he has a mammoth task ahead, as Zuma has included probing all state corruption to ascertain “the nature and extent of corruption, if any, in the awarding of contracts and tenders to companies, business entities or organisations by government departments, agencies and entities.
“In particular, whether any member of the national executive (including the president), public official, functionary of any organ of state influence the awarding of tenders to benefit themselves, their families or entities in which they held a personal interest,”
Also under investigation will be “whether any advisers in the Ministry of Finance were appointed without proper procedure.”
“In particular, and as alleged in the complaint to the public protector, whether two senior advisers who were appointed by Minister Des van Rooyen to the National Treasury were so appointed without following proper procedures.”
The ToR may be “added to varied or amended from time to time”. – additional reporting by ANA