Officers have described what it is like inside the luxurious Gupta home in Saxonwold‚ Johannesburg‚ which the Hawks targeted on Wednesday morning as part of the elite unit’s investigation into state capture.
A police source with knowledge of the operation said officers were looking for specific documentation and electronic devices.
“These guys are searching all the rooms‚ literally going through the place inch by inch. It’s very specific items that they are looking for here and elsewhere‚” the source said.
“The concern is that because the Guptas have known about this (state capture investigation) things might have disappeared. But so far things are looking good.”
A separate Hawks source said they had carried out other raids away from the media spotlight‚ which had yielded good results.
“You wouldn’t believe the size of the compound. It’s like a rabbit warren. Dozens of rooms‚ nooks and crannies. It is going to be a long process to find what we are looking for.”
Where is Duduzane Zuma?
The hunt is on for Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane after the Hawks swooped on his Saxonwold mansion on Wednesday in a pre-dawn raid, but couldn’t find him.
Duduzane is being sought for his alleged role in the fraud scandal at the Estina dairy farm at Vrede in the Free State, which saw politicians and businesspeople pocketing millions from the project earmarked for emerging black farmers.
This is according to sources within the security cluster.
“We have been told Mr X (Duduzane) is on the warrants obtained, but he has not been located as yet,” said the source, who was reluctant to call Duduzane by his name.
Atul Gupta attempts to flee the country
One of Duduzane’s alleged accomplices in the Gupta family, Atul, apparently tried to evade arrest by skipping the country, but his attempt to flee was foiled when the pilot refused to fly the private jet at Lanseria Airport.
“The information we have is that Atul may have tried to flee the country this morning (yesterday), but the pilot refused to take off,” another source said.
Atul and Ajay – the eldest of the three Gupta brothers – were negotiating to hand themselves over to the elite crime-fighting unit.
The Star understands that Atul’s younger brother Tony – also known as Rajesh – was arrested during the dramatic raid on the family’s Saxonwold compound.
“Tony is in (custody). Atul is negotiating to come in through his attorneys,” said the source, adding that an unidentified business associate of the Guptas was also nabbed.
They were among the five people arrested in connection with the Estina scandal.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said: “Two (arrests) were made there (at the Gupta homestead), one in Gauteng and two in the Free State. More arrests are expected.”
The suspects face charges of fraud, money laundering and corruption, he added.
Among those arrested in the Free State is the provincial head of department for agriculture, Peter Thabethe.
Duduzane’s property is located about two blocks from the Guptas’ compound.
Duduzane is a director of one of the Guptas’ companies, Westdawn Investments, which also allegedly siphoned funds from the farm project.
Duduzane’s attorney Gary Mazaham would not comment on the matter.
The Guptas’ lawyer Ahmed Gani denied that any of the Gupta brothers were arrested at their Saxonwold home.
“It’s speculation, that’s what it is.” But he did concede that two arrests were made at the homestead.
The Gupta brothers allegedly pocketed R220m from the Free State provincial government, which had been pumped into the dairy farm and allocated to benefit emerging black farmers.
The National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit has revealed that only R2m was spent on the farm.