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Nene on lying about Gupta visits: I think I took the easy way out

Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene told the Zondo commission of inquiry that he visited the Guptas on eight occasions.

A video screengrab shows Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene giving testimony at the state capture commission of inquiry on 3 October 2018. Picture: SABC Digital News/youtube.com

JOHANNESBURG - Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has been grilled at the state capture inquiry for lying about his visits to the Guptas.

The commission probed why he visited the controversial family’s residence on so many occasions.

Nene resigned in October last year after his testimony at the inquiry, where he admitted that he lied about meeting members of the Gupta family during his previous stint as minister.

On Thursday, he also told the commission that Economic Freedom Fighters deputy president Floyd Shivambu tried to influence his decision to place VBS Mutual Bank under curatorship.

He told the inquiry the EFF viciously attacked him because he stepped on the party’s toes and their associates during his tenure.

Nene admitted that he visited the Guptas on eight occasions. Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo appeared shocked.

He asked Nene: “Wasn’t that perhaps too many times?”

Nene responded: “Perhaps in the spirit of being accessible.”

Zondo then suggested the Nene did not “want to antagonise his boss’s friends”.

Nene was later asked to explain why he lied about his visits to the controversial family.

“This question came as an ambush as I always put it, but when the question arose, I think I took the easy way of not being honest at the time.”

Zondo told Nene the impression he had of the finance minister was someone who had stood his ground, even in the face of pressure.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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