EWN Exclusive: Gupta attorney seeks indemnity in fraud and corruption trial

Van der Merwe reveals in an affidavit how he laundered money through his attorney’s trust account between a former Limpopo MEC and a businessman.

FILE: Ajay Gupta. Credit: YouTube

PRETORIA – Eyewitness News can reveal that the Gupta family's attorney Gert van der Merwe is a former accused and now State witness seeking indemnity in a R16 million fraud and corruption trial.

The case involves former Limpopo Health MEC Miriam Segabutla and businessman Johnny Lucas. The politician is accused of taking kickbacks from the businessman to secure tenders in 2010.

Van der Merwe reveals in an affidavit how he laundered money through his attorney’s trust account between the parties.

Eyewitness News understands he is now seeking indemnity from prosecution in terms of Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has declined to comment, saying that Van der Merwe has not yet testified in the case.

Eyewitness News has learnt that Van der Merwe, the man who has now become synonymous with and who represents the controversial Gupta family, was arrested in 2014.

He appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court with several co-accused before being released on bail of R25,000.

The charges were later withdrawn on condition that he makes a full disclosure of his involvement in the alleged offences for which he may be granted indemnity from prosecution.

In a section 204 affidavit, Van der Merwe describes how a businessman paid tens of thousands of rands into his attorney trust account.

He then used those funds to settle the personal debt of Segabutla, transactions which formed the basis of money laundering charges.

Among these debts were payments to the South African Revenue Services (Sars) and the MEC’s daughter’s school fees at an upmarket Pretoria school.

In one instance, Van der Merwe states in the affidavit that a bag of R100,000 in cash was dropped off at his offices which he then personally delivered to Segabutla at the Sheraton Hotel.

Van der Merwe has denied performing any such services for his current clients, the Guptas and the Oakbay group of families.

The Guptas did not respond to a request for comment.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)