South Africa Prosecutors Seek to Recover $4 Billion in Assets

  • Prosecutors target 1.6 billion rand from Eskom-related work
  • Government probing contracts between firms and state companies

Time Running Out for South Africa's Zuma

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority, through its Asset Forfeiture Unit, is seeking to recover about 50 billion rand ($4 billion) worth of assets from 17 cases it’s pursuing relating to “state capture.” 

The Asset Forfeiture Unit has six cases in court related to state capture, a term used to describe influence over government appointments and the awarding of state contracts, Knorx Molelle, the unit’s acting head of operations, said in an interview with Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA on Tuesday.

Prosecutors earlier on Tuesday obtained an order to freeze 1.6 billion rand of assets held by McKinsey & Co. and Trillian Capital Partners in what’s seen as the first significant response to corruption allegations against the politically connected Gupta family, who are close friends with President Jacob Zuma. The two companies will have 90 days to show their contracts with various state-owned entities were lawfully awarded. Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing.

“I’m encouraged by the investigations and decisions by the Asset Forfeiture Unit to deal with certain contracts at Eskom and take action against certain individuals,” Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba told reporters. State power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. has been roiled by allegations that it’s linked to the Gupta family.

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