#StateCaptureInquiry - Maseko tells commission that the Hawks were ready to charge Zuma, Gupta brother

Former government spokesperson Themba Maseko told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Wednesday that the Hawks had told him they were ready to charge former president Jacob Zuma and Ajay Gupta by April this year.

"Around April 2018, I got a call from the Hawks requesting a meeting with me to take the matter forward. They informed me that it had been handed over to a new team of investigators preparing to take matter to court, and they were looking at charging Mr Ajay Gupta and President Zuma and wanted to go through the two affidavits," Maseko said.

READ #StateCaptureInquiry: There are more of us who can help commission - Maseko

Weeks later, they told him the matter was in "abeyance" after the Hawks had raided the Gupta mansion in Saxonwold in February.

"They came back to me to inform me that the matter was not going to be followed through. They said the matter has been put in abeyance; I should relax," he testified.

At the time, Maseko had already submitted an affidavit detailing his encounter with the Gupta family and Zuma.

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The commission is investigating allegations of undue influence by the Gupta family on Zuma and at state-owned enterprises.

OVERVIEW: Ajay Gupta somehow knew about R600m GCIS budget - Maseko to #StateCaptureInquiry

Maseko, who was the first to directly implicate Zuma in allegations of state capture, detailed his interaction with the Hawks.

He explained to the commission that the investigative unit had approached him to get an affidavit via a direct message on social network Twitter.

It followed his media statements that Zuma had personally called him asking him to "help" the Guptas, who were looking to secure government advertising for their newspaper The New Age.

At the time, Maseko was the CEO of the Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) that managed a R600m media budget.

Maseko was the third witness to implicate the Hawks.

READ: Hawks seriously concerned by Jonas' allegations

The second witness, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, told the commission that the Hawks wanted him to "kill" what they called "a DA case" after he publicly said the Guptas offered him R600m if he accepted the job of finance minister.

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor also said that the Hawks had given her a "corrupted" version of her handwritten statement after she opened a case against Zuma, accusing him of a corrupt relationship with the Guptas.

READ: Vytjie Mentor's full statement to state capture commission

Maseko said, as he was preparing to appear before the commission, the Hawks informed him that they wanted a statement from him, relating to their investigation into a 2005 IT tender awarded by the public works department when he was the director general.

"I saw it as an unwelcomed distraction; it was a complete surprise," he said.

Hawks investigation

Maseko told the commission that, when the story of the investigation was reported, the newly-appointed head of Hawks Godfrey Lebeya informed him that he was not aware of the investigation.

Lebeya's phone call to Maseko followed Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi's comments that he was not aware of the investigations and that the people that had met Maseko were not in the Hawks' employ.

However, Lebeya later established that the investigation into the 2005 tender had started long before his tenure and a report had been handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision.

Maseko said Lebeya promised to update him on the final decision.

"I am sure that feedback is on its way," he said.

The commission's advocate Vincent Maleka said: "It is unfortunate that a witness such as Mr Maseko would have a cloud hanging over his head over a matter that happened 13 years ago."

The commission is expected to ask the NPA for a status report on the investigation.

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