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We’ve never met Guptas, say officials who dealt with family’s naturalisation

Home Affairs officials Richard Sikakane and Norman Ramashia deny they bungled an early naturalisation appeal for Ajay Gupta’s family.

FILE: Home Affairs committee gathering in Parliament on 12 September 2018 for the inquiry into the early naturalisation of the Gupta family. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Two Home Affairs officials who dealt with the Gupta naturalisation applications say they’ve never met or had contact with them.

Another official has, however, admitted to having interacted with the former Sahara Computers COO, Ashu Chawla.

Home Affairs officials have on Thursday been testifying before Parliament’s inquiry into the naturalisation of members of the Gupta family.

Home Affairs officials Richard Sikakane and Norman Ramashia deny they bungled an early naturalisation appeal for Ajay Gupta’s family.

But committee chairperson Hlomane Chauke is not buying their explanations.

“None of you want to own up to the mess you have created. You are just selling SA citizenship on face value, anyone that comes can apply for it.”

But he praised director of appeals Major Kobese for admitting to having communicated with Gupta family intermediary Chawla.

Kobese says they only exchanged around 10 emails and only to resolve bottlenecks in the application process for visas and permits.

”I must confess, I don’t know Chawla. However, he did contact me to say he’s the COO of Sahara, saying Sahara is one of the large accounts which creates labour in South Africa and they have a lot of investments.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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