Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP | A linchpin of South Africa’s Gupta business family, which has been closely associated with ex- president Jacob Zuma, fought back Monday against a corruption probe by contesting an assets freeze.
Atul Gupta applied to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to force investigators probing a suspect farming scheme to release 10 million rand ($856,000) in frozen assets.
“Atul Gupta is challenging the court, he is requesting the court to reconsider the preservation order,” NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku told AFP, confirming receipt of Atul’s application.
Thirteen people are facing charges linked to allegations that millions of dollars of public money meant for poor dairy farmers was siphoned off by the Guptas.
Local media reports suggested that Zuma’s son Duduzane, a business associate of the Guptas, is also among those being sought, and some speculated that he could be in Dubai.
Ajay Gupta, Atul’s brother, is subject to an arrest warrant in connection to alleged state corruption in another case, according to police.
Detectives last week raided the family’s palatial home in Johannesburg and made several arrests for alleged offences including fraud, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds.
At the weekend, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said that five people sought in connection with the sprawling investigation were currently abroad.
In his first address to the nation hours after he assumed power on Friday, new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa vowed to fight corruption in a direct reference to the accusations levelled at his predecessor Zuma.