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Home Affairs didn't discipline official who shared info with Gupta associate

Leaked emails reveal that Gideon Christians shared a slew of correspondence with Ashu Chawla, the man who arranged dozens of visas and permits for the Guptas, their friends and employees.

A video screengrab of Gideon Christians.

CAPE TOWN - The Home Affairs Department took no disciplinary action against an official based in India following reports that he had shared confidential information with known Gupta-associate Ashu Chawla.

Gideon Christians was the only Home Affairs official who appeared before a parliamentary inquiry into the naturalisation of the Gupta family this week, to acknowledge meeting one of the infamous brothers.

But he says he was only trying to help put business people together when he met Rajesh Gupta at a restaurant in India.

Leaked emails reveal that Christians shared a slew of correspondence with Chawla, the man who arranged dozens of visas and permits for the Guptas, their friends and employees.

The emails submitted to Parliament by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) detail HR issues expressed by officials about sending Christians on a second posting to India in 2015.

Christians confirmed that he forwarded the emails: “It was an internal communication that I sent out, and I accept that I shouldn’t have done it.”

He, however, denies sharing a document detailing the salaries and benefits of over 60 officials posted at South African missions around the world, irking committee chairperson Patrick Chauke.

“This is tantamount to treason," said Chauke.

Former Director-General Mkuseli Apleni told the inquiry, while Christians was asked to explain the allegations when they emerged in media reports, without evidence the department could not take the matter further.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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