Gideon Christians admits to helping expedite applications for Guptas’ visas
The first secretary at the South African High Commission in India has acknowledged that he has a friendly relationship, dating back to 2008, with Ashu Chawla.
CAPE TOWN - A first secretary working in South Africa’s High Commission in India has denied that he was part of a racket which helped the Gupta family receive visas and permits in record time.
Gideon Christians says it was normal practice to help expedite applications for documents that would help facilitate investment in South Africa.
Christians is testifying at Parliament’s inquiry into the naturalisation of the Gupta family.
Christians has acknowledged that he has a friendly relationship, dating back to 2008, with the man who facilitated many of the applications for visas and permits for the Gupta family and their employees.
He says he met Ashu Chawla at the embassy in New Delhi, where he is stationed, during his first posting.
“We have a friendly relation, but Chawla has never been to my house or met my family and friends.”
Christians says he was asked to facilitate work permits for ANN7 employees ahead of its launch in South Africa.
He also says he advised the family on how to apply for visas for a family wedding at Sun City in 2013.
But adds he rejected the bride’s application for a business visa.
Christians says he was invited to the infamous wedding but never attended because he was in India.
(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)