Scorpio - the Daily Maverick’s newly launched investigative unit - and amaBhungane have confirmed they have access to 100 000 to 200 000 unique emails sent between the Gupta brothers, their associates and others.
The Sunday Times and City Press published details based on 650 emails in their possession, revealing how President Jacob Zuma was seeking alternative residency in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Both newspapers quote from an email circulated from Tony Gupta to an employee and then to Duduzane Zuma, in which a draft letter to UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed is prepared.
As well as details on exactly how the Guptas paid for trips for people like Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and former acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko.
But a lot more is expected from the email archive. Scorpio and amaBhungane are now in the process of sorting and publishing information contained in the mails.
So far they have revealed:
1) New evidence that immigration officials may have been captured by the Guptas - including two who were specially positioned in India by Malusi Gigaba’s office when he was Home Affairs Minister.
Emails show how senior Gupta employee Ashu Chawla repeatedly asked these two and other officials to fast-track visas to benefit Gupta businesses as they moved dozens of employees, associates and family members between South Africa, India and Dubai.
2) How the president’s friends and their associates are diverting billions of rands from Transnet’s purchase of locomotives to their offshore accounts.
In a scheme so audacious and lucrative it puts the notorious arms deal to shame, they: • Entered kickback agreements totalling R5.3 billion with the Chinese manufacturer that became Transnet’s favourite locomotive supplier. • Influenced procurement processes through their associates at Transnet. • Are pocketing R10 million from each R50 million locomotive that Transnet is buying.
This story presents the most direct evidence yet of the Guptas and their associates amassing fortunes offshore by tolling contracts at state-owned entities they control.
amaBhungane editor Sam Sole explains why they were scooped by City Press and the Sunday Times.
He says they could not initially publish the information because they wanted to ensure the safety of the whistle-blowers.
We haven't been able to get down to doing this part of the journalism job, but equally important for journalism in this country and for the future of whistle blowing is that we made a great effort to do the right thing and protect the whistle blowers.— Sam Sole, amaBhungane Editor
This is really very big, it consists of a lot of internal communication between people within the Gupta organisation. Hopefully our story published today about the incredible kickbacks that were attached to the Transnet locomotive deal. That will give you an idea of the seriousness of what is there.— Sam Sole, amaBhungane editor
This is the kind of material should lead to people being arrested and put in jail. These are people with the highest political office in the land on their speed dial and with billions at their disposal.— Sam Sole, amaBhungane editor
He says more will be revealed in the coming days.
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