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Office of Chief Justice denies Guptas influenced Molefe case date

Nov 10 2017 19:04
Jan Cronje

Cape Town - The Office of the Chief Justice on Friday said that Ajay Gupta did not approach the Gauteng Deputy Judge President to influence the starting date of the upcoming court proceedings of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe.

On Wednesday, suspended Eskom legal head Suzanne Daniels testified before a parliamentary inquiry that Ajay Gupta told her in July 2017 that he would move the date of Molefe's hearing to another date.

Daniels said she met the Gupta brother at an apartment near Melrose Arch in Johannesburg on July 29.

"The purpose of the discussion was around the process of the Molefe court proceedings. Mr Gupta wanted to know how far they were," Daniels told the inquiry.

She said that Ajay told her that he would speak to "someone" at the Gauteng Deputy Judge President’s office to have the hearing take place after December 2017.

Daniels said that Duduzane Zuma, Deputy Minister [of Public Enterprises] Ben Martins, a Chinese lady "whose name I could not remember" and Gupta business associate, Salim Essa, were also present at the meeting.

READ: Eskom inquiry hears evidence that the Guptas took care of Molefe and Koko

In a statement on Friday, the Office of the Chief Justice said it "unequivocally refuted" the "misleading" statement attributed to Ajay Gupta.

"In fact, that statement was allegedly made in July 2017, when pleadings had not yet been lodged."

"We can also confirm that the officials in the office of the Deputy Judge President have informed the Deputy Judge President that there has been no approach to them by anyone to have the date changed," the statement read.

"As the Office of the Chief Justice, we are not aware of any inappropriate conduct by any court officials relating to the enrolment of this and other matters and thus encourages any member of the public who may have information regarding any wrongful activity in this regard to approach the Office of the Chief Justice with such information."

Daniels, meanwhile, on Thursday tweeted that she stood by her testimony at the inquiry.

"By virtue of being a lawyer, I am an officer of the court and to top it up, I also took an oath in Parliament ahead of proffering my evidence. I, therefore, would not have lied to Parliament and risk various applicable consequences. I stand by my testimony."

The Molefe case is set to start on November 29.

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