NPA's probe into Gupta-linked Regiments 'at advanced stage'

The Gupta-linked company has also been accused of being involved in state capture.

NPA head Shamila Batohi (centre) briefs the media on 1 February 2019. Picture: Kgomotso Modise/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it had a court order to freeze over R1 billion worth of assets of Gupta-linked Regiments Capital.

The Gupta-linked company has also been accused of being involved in state capture.

The court order was obtained by Hermione Cronje, head of the investigative directorate, who is investigating corruption and fraud at Transnet regarding the multi-billion rand project to buy 100 new trains.

The court also granted an interim restraining order against the directors of the company.

NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said they were also investigating alleged corruption by the company.

“The criminal investigation into the conduct of the Regiments group is at an advanced stage. In addition, Regiments' server has been accessed that had previously been seized through Transnet, which is now at the state capture commission.”

Earlier this year the state capture commission of inquiry heard how Regiments Capital overcharged Transnet R90 million for a service it didn’t need to outsource in the first place.

This was among the submission by corporate finance expert Jonathan Bloom at the public hearings in Parktown.

Bloom said Regiments charged Transnet 0.15% to secure a loan worth billions of rand.

“If one compares 0.1% with 0.15%, it doesn’t sound like a big difference, but on a very large amount, it makes a substantial difference. They overcharged by R90 million,” he said at the time.

But Bloom said Regiments should not have been paid for the work in the first place.

“As we determined previously, there was sufficient capacity, knowledge, and skills within the Transnet funding department to perform the required functions. In my opinion, there was no need for Transnet to outsource this function to an external party.”

Meanwhile, the Guptas have left the country and closed many of their businesses after revelations that they allegedly played a central role in state capture.

The family has since refused to return to the country to answer to the allegations.

Last month, the US Treasury department's Foreign Assets Control office prohibited members of the Gupta family and a business associate from doing business with the US or any US nationals.

The US Treasury announced that it has sanctioned Rajesh Gupta, Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta and Salim Essa for their alleged involvement in corruption in South Africa.

This falls under an executive order issued in the United States.

They have been cited for payments on government contracts, bribery, and other corruption claims to fund political contributions and influence government actions.

The US said Thursday's sanctions demonstrated the country's unwavering commitment to supporting the rule of law and accountability in South Africa.

Additional reporting by EWN & Reuters.