US sanctions family accused of rampant graft in South Africa




South Africa US Sanctions
South Africa US Sanctions  

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday imposed sanctions on members of the Gupta family who face wide-ranging corruption allegations in South Africa during former president Jacob Zuma's tenure.

The U.S. said it had placed Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta and close associate Salim Essa on its sanctions list, describing them as "members of a significant corruption network." It said the Guptas used bribery and other acts to influence government contracts and misappropriate state assets.

Outrage in South Africa over the Guptas' close relationship with Zuma led the ruling African National Congress party to pressure Zuma to resign in 2018. His successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa, has vowed to crack down on the widespread graft that has eroded support for the ANC, which has ruled the country since the end of the harsh system of white minority rule known as apartheid in 1994.

The scandal also severely hurt investor confidence in South Africa's economy, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Guptas are now the subject of a nationally televised commission of inquiry in South Africa that is probing allegations of corruption in government and state-owned companies. The three brothers live in Dubai and have refused to return and face the inquiry.

This week Zuma's son Duduzane appeared before the commission of inquiry and denied he and the Guptas were involved in any acts of corruption. Jacob Zuma, who was president from 2009 until 2018, has denied allegations of corruption. Separately this year he has been in court fighting allegations of receiving bribes related to a 1999 arms deal.

A report by the country's corruption watchdog has described how the Gupta brothers allegedly captured large parts of the country's levers of power, extending to influencing the appointment of Zuma's cabinet ministers.

The new sanctions forbid U.S. entities from conducting business with the Guptas and their related businesses or handling their assets.

The Guptas' business empire in South Africa, which included interests in technology, mining and media, started collapsing after major South African banks closed their accounts.

The corruption allegations were revealed during years of dogged reporting by South African media and activists. The U.S. statement praises "the critical role played by South Africa's civil society activists, whistleblowers and investigative journalists to shine the spotlight on the Gupta network's elicitation of criminal abuse of public office and other acts of corruption, which have deterred investment and impeded South Africa's economic growth."

___

Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

COMMENTS

More Related News

Carry1st has $4M to invest in African mobile gaming
Carry1st has $4M to invest in African mobile gaming

The startup - with offices in New York, Lagos, and South Africa - was co-founded in 2018 by Sierra Leonean Cordel Robbin-Coker, American Lucy Parry, and Zimbabwean software engineer Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu. "I convinced her to avoid going to business school and instead come to South Africa to Cape Town," Robbin-Coker told TechCrunch on a call. "We launched with the idea that we wanted to bring the gaming industry...to the African continent."

South African bans on tobacco, liquor amid virus stir debate
South African bans on tobacco, liquor amid virus stir debate
  • World
  • 2020-05-27 06:50:35Z

In Johannesburg's Alexandra township, two men in face masks greet each other on a sunny street. One has surreptitiously sold the other a pack of cigarettes. A bootlegging culture has sprung up across South Africa in response to the government's nearly 8-week-old ban on the sale of tobacco and alcohol, part of its strict lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Tests vital for Africa
Tests vital for Africa's fight against coronavirus
  • World
  • 2020-05-27 04:18:30Z

Early successes have been hailed by some but governments must start getting more data, reports Anne Soy.

Most Publicly-Traded Companies Getting Small Business Aid Are Keeping It
Most Publicly-Traded Companies Getting Small Business Aid Are Keeping It

More than 80% of the publicly-traded companies that have received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program are sticking with the program, according to the market research firm FactSquared.Last month, the Treasury Department provided guidance stating that companies that have access to other sources of capital should be excluded from the $670 billion program. Pressured by both the Treasury guidelines and public criticism, some firms, including such notables as Shake Shack, Auto Nation and the Los Angeles Lakers, have returned millions of dollars to the government. Others were given until May 18 to return their loans without risk of further scrutiny.But it looks like hundreds of...

Coronavirus in South Africa: Smokers fume at cigarette ban
Coronavirus in South Africa: Smokers fume at cigarette ban
  • World
  • 2020-05-25 23:28:04Z

The government is to ease lockdown restrictions and allow the sale of alcohol - but not cigarettes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America