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Gupta-linked public enterprises DG Richard Seleke quits

Richard Seleke.
Richard Seleke.

The embattled Gupta-linked public enterprises director-general Richard Seleke is finally leaving the public service after reaching a settlement on his exit.

This brings to an end a deadlock between Seleke and his employer. He had, over two months ago, accepted a R3-million settlement but refused to sign on the dotted line unless a condition preventing him from working for government until 2020 was scrapped. He vowed at the time to challenge this in the labour court.

The public enterprises department announced this week that Seleke‚ who was suspended by minister Pravin Gordhan in March‚ was officially vacating his position following a settlement reached with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office as well as the department.

It was not clear whether Seleke’s exit meant he had accepted a revised settlement offer or the initial one with a cooling-off period. Attempts to get hold of him were unsuccessful.

His departure‚ according to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) is not the end of it for Seleke‚ who was implicated in the leaked Gupta emails.

The anti-corruption activist group said it was “preparing a detailed submission on the outgoing public enterprise director-general Richard Seleke’s relationship with Gupta family to be handed to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture”.

Gordhan is known to have suspended Seleke over his alleged links with the Guptas.

Serious allegations against Seleke are contained in an affidavit by Outa chief operations officer‚ Ben Theron‚ who alleged that the then director-general leaked inside business information of state-owned enterprises to the Guptas and thus helped them secure major contracts with Eskom and Transnet. Theron further alleged in the affidavit that:

• Seleke had an unlawful and improper relationship with the Gupta family since at least the start of 2015.

• He used an anonymous email address (infoportal1@zoho.com) from which he conducted Gupta-related business under the pseudonym “Businessman”.

• Seleke’s CV was emailed to former president Jacob Zuma’s son‚ Duduzane‚ who is a Gupta business associate‚ before his appointment as director-general in December 2015.

Outa welcomed Seleke’s departure but promised to “continue to pursue its charges of fraud‚ corruption and treason against him.

“We welcome the news of Seleke’s removal from office which is the result of a settlement stemming from investigations into his involvement with the Gupta family. However‚ this does not mean we will back down from our criminal complaint and our legal team will continue to apply pressure on the Hawks and NPA to investigate and take this matter to court‚” said Outa’s portfolio manager‚ Rudie Heyneke.

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