Tony Gupta is not my friend - Ben Martins
The Public Enterprises Deputy Minister says one meeting with Tony Gupta at his ministerial house was to discuss a tender that had already closed.
PARLIAMENT - Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Ben Martins says Tony Gupta has never been his friend.
He says there was nothing untoward about his engagement with Gupta and the President’s son, Duduzane Zuma, at his house.
Martins says he’s never placed undue influence on anybody, including former Prasa chief executive Lucky Montana.
He says when he was appointed Transport Minister in 2012, he assured Montana and former board chairperson Sfiso Buthelezi that they would not be removed without due reason.
He says one meeting with Gupta at his ministerial house was to discuss a tender that had already closed.
On a question from the Democratic Alliance’s Natasha Mazzone, Martins says he was never “bullied” into having meetings with the Guptas.
“Under no circumstance can I say that Mr Tony Gupta is a friend of mine… he’s not a friend [of mine].”
He says he’s also never been instructed by President Jacob Zuma or anyone else to appoint board members or to award tenders.
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(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)