State capture inquiry: Jan Gilliland says state gave Guptas R260m for “media”

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The state capture inquiry is back underway in Johannesburg, and it has done well to match the drama we saw before last Thursday’s adjournment. Jan Gilliland has exposed some more eye-watering, Gupta-related figures.

Previously, the Guptas’ legal team demanded that they get the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses who have dropped bombshell allegations about them. Not only that, but we were left on a cliffhanger as Raymond Zondo and his team said they were considering visiting Dubai, and tracking down the Gupta brothers.

A decision on whether the commission will have an “away day” will be revealed this week. In the meantime, the focus has been on this new witness facing the investigation.

He certainly delivered, alright. As BusinessLive report, Gilliland said that after receiving information from the commission, he tracked payments made to the media companies through the basic accounting system (BAS) used by national and provincial government departments.

He traced those transactions back to 11 accounts held by the Gupta’s media empire. The New Age received 95% of these payments, whereas the remainder went to Infinity Media – this totalled R260 million.

Earlier in the day, we provided a quick profile for the elusive Jan Gilliland:

Who is Jan Gilliland?

It’s a name not too many South Africans will be familiar with. However, Gilliland is a veteran of the Treasury Department. He’s been there at the height of the Gupta corruption, and although he’s not the most well-known witness, he could be one of the most important.

Why he’s testifying

His professional life has been kept highly private up until Monday. Gilliland has served as the Treasury’s director, where he was responsible for “implementation and functional support“. There’s a good chance he has seen Gupta money processed through his office at some point.

In fact, one of the questions he’ll be facing revolves around a R55 million payment made to the Gupta-owned media houses of The New Age and ANN7. Gilliland was able to track and trace the suspicious transaction, and his testimony is also set to complete the GCIS story from last week.

The department is accused of making a number of payments to the news outlets, too.

How will this impact the state capture inquiry?

Acting Chief Procurement Officer at Treasury Willie Mathebula was actually the first witness to testify. He has previously told the Zondo commission that “a lot of corruption in this country is connected to tenders”.

The extension of contracts related to the awarding of tenders is a “breeding ground” for corruption. Given that Jan Gilliland is from the same department as Mathebula, we can expect the lid to be lifted a little more on this particular issue.

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