State Capture Inquiry: Guptas accused of laundering R52m in Hong Kong

18cf7a2a raymond zondo 1200x847 - State Capture Inquiry: Guptas accused of laundering R52m in Hong Kong

SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) executive Elijah Mazibuko, detailed at Friday’s State Capture Inquiry hearings, how a Gupta-linked company successfully moved almost R52 million from South Africa to Hong Kong.

The head of the Sarb financial surveillance department revealed to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that letterbox company Homix exported R51.8m through Mercantile Bank, via an intermediary in 2015, before R14.4m was blocked. The company had two years to claim the forfeited millions but Mazibuko said the company failed to do so and the money was taken by the state.

Mazibuko said Homix had conducted a number of transactions via its Mercantile Bank account.

“When you talk about these type of transactions, there’s something that is called trade-based money laundering and it is a process whereby criminals use legitimate trade to hide their criminal proceeds from unscrupulous sources whatsoever, so the trade has to look legit,” he said.

“There was 13 (transactions) plus three which was 16. The three that were forwarded to us to look at by Mercantile Bank they were blocked and then the money, I think, amounted to about R14.4 million.” 

When asked by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo why there was no system in place to prevent such large amounts of money from moving out of the country, Mazibuko said it was difficult to trace every transaction as 500 000 foreign exchange transactions worth trillions of Rand are processed daily.

“I think when these accounts started coming in, they realised something was wrong. But some them had passed through already, that is why the R51 million passed through but were able to block a smaller amount which was R14.4 million,” Mazibuko said.

Hong Kong company Morning Star International were the beneficiaries of 14 of the 16 payments made by Homix, three of those payments were blocked.

State Capture Inquiry:Homix role in the laundering of Transnet funds

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