NEWS & ANALYSIS

Ajay Gupta a fugitive from justice - Fikile Mbalula

Minister says he has directed that no suspects are smuggled out of the country

SUSPECTS SOUGHT ON FRAUD & CORRUPTION CHARGES

The South African Police Service's Directorate Of priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) also known as HAWKS declared Mr Ajay Gupta of Saxonworld, Johannesburg Gauteng as a wanted person in connection with pending charges relating to allegations of fraud and corruption over Estina Farm Community Project.

During the operation to serve the warrants on the Gupta home in Saxonworld, the police were assured by occupants that a message to Mr A Gupta alerting him that he is being sought on warrant will be delivered to him as he had stepped out of the home prior to police' arrival.

The Hawks further made contact on Tuesday and Wednesday with Mr A Gupta's attorneys to assist on the presentation of the suspect to Hawks offices.

"Having satisfied ourselves that Mr Ajay Gupta is surely fully aware by now that SAPS is interested on his presentation to court and he has failed to do so — it is prudent he be declared on flight and that he is now a fugitive from the law"; said Minister of Police Mr Fikile Mbalula.

"At this point I have directed police to make sure that none of the suspects get smuggled out of the republic's boundaries and that our border posts be vigilant. I am also aware of the many smuggling routes of our porous borders within the region and we are liaising with Our regional counterparts for cooperation in this regard — his take-down operation is proceeding, he can run but he can not hide", said Mbalula.

The public is discouraged from performing any citizen arrest on the suspect and are urged to call 086001011 1 for any information relating to suspects whereabouts. Assisting of the suspect to evade police is regarded as a crime.

The Ministry of Police has also noted the various cash rewards offered by private individuals for capture of the suspect and wishes to discourage and disassociates government from such rewards.

These rewards are not helpful and may result in the endangerment of the suspect, lookalikes and general public.

Of the thirteen (13) suspects in Estina matter, 8 were presented to court this week and are out on bail while five (5) remain at large, 3 (three) of which are believed to be out of the republic; Mr Ajay Gupta being the one of the 5 police are satisfied is aware of his warrant hence his naming.

"South Africa remain a law and order society and the public is urged not to take the law on its hands, the cash rewards on catching Mr Gupta are not sanctioned by government and we are discouraging such activity — South Africa is not a wild wild west. Should police decide that a reward is warranted on the matter, such determination will be made professionally with all security considerations taken"; concluded Mbalula.

Statement issued by the Ministry of Police, 17 February 2018