Gupta Family Denies Seeking S. Africa Rail Contract, Fin24 Says

  • Claims made that family tried to influence $3.4b contract
  • Gupta family was blamed for axing of SA Finance Minister

The Gupta family, friends of South African President Jacob Zuma and accused of using influence to win government business, denied a report they sought to win a 51 billion rand ($3.4 billion) contract for rail cars in 2012, a family spokesman said in an interview on the Fin24 website.

The allegation was made by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa Chief Executive Officer Lucky Montana, who in a letter that the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times reported on said the family tried to take control of the rail operator’s board in order to win a bid for 600 new locomotives.

“We have no interest absolutely in the rolling stock tender that’s been put out and therefore we totally deny any of the claims in the supposed letter,”  the spokesman, Gary Naidoo, said. "The allegations are without foundation."

The Gupta family also have been accused of getting South Africa’s former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene fired in December and offering official government positions to people. The Gupta family has denied the claims and Zuma has said he alone has the authority to appoint cabinet ministers.

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