The attorney for the infamous Gupta family has denied knowledge of any criminal activity involving a senior Limpopo MEC and a businessman.
Gert van der Merwe was implicated in an Eyewitness News report on Tuesday that said he was an accused, turned State witness, seeking indemnity in a R16m fraud and corruption trial.
The case involves former Limpopo Health MEC Miriam Segabutla and businessman Johnny Lucas. The politician is accused of taking kickbacks from the businessman to secure tenders in 2010.
According to the report, in an affidavit, Van Der Merwe outlined how he had laundered money through his attorney’s trust account between the parties.
The report said he was now seeking indemnity from prosecution in terms of section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
It said he was arrested and had appeared in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court with several co-accused, before being released on bail of R25 000.
The charges were later withdrawn, on condition that he makes a full disclosure of his involvement in the alleged offences, for which he may be granted indemnity from prosecution.
In a statement on Monday, Van der Merwe said he had no knowledge of criminal activity between both parties.
“I never knowingly, intentionally or actively participated in any criminal activity [to] the extent that my infrastructure and services might have been abused to promote any such activities.”
He added: “As soon as I realised suspected ill-conduct, I acted decisively to prevent any possible participation or involvement in any such activity.”
According to Van Der Merwe, the criminal case relates to matters that occurred in 2010. He said that, after his arrest, he co-operated with the NPA.
“Approximately three years ago, I was arrested and tendered unconditional co-operation with the NPA, disclosing my full involvement.”
He said that, after his co-operation, charges against him were dropped. He added that he could not discuss the ongoing case because he was a witness.
He also claimed to have never received any “undue benefit” from transactions between Segabutla and Lucas.
Van Der Merwe added that neither the Guptas nor Oakbay Investments had any dealings in the matter.
The NPA declined to comment, saying that they would only comment once the trial was completed.[Source: news24]