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South African Parliament welcomes
move to freeze assets of Gupta family  

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s Parliament on Tuesday hailed an ongoing process to serve a summon on the Indian Gupta family and freeze its assets to the tune of 1.6 billion rand (about 130 million U.S. dollars).

This came after the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) started the process to serve a summon on the Guptas and freeze its assets.

This process should continue “without fear or favor”, said Mathole Motshekga, Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services.

The AFU applied for three separate orders at the High Court in Pretoria as well as the High Court in Bloemfontein last month, and the ex parte applications seeking orders to freeze the Guptas’ assets have been granted.

The applications were brought in terms of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act, which allows assets of defendants in criminal cases, or people who have yet to be criminally charged to be preserved pending the outcome of their prosecution. After they have been successfully prosecuted, the assets are then permanently forfeited to the state.

Investigators have assured that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that criminals are stopped in their tracks and that they do not benefit from the proceeds of such criminal activities, Motshekga said.

“Criminals must know that the law will deal with them in all respects in the harshest possible way. Nobody is above the law,” said Motshekga.

At least 14 people and two companies have been identified in the case involving the controversial Gupta family.

The Gupta-linked Trillian company and international consultancy giant McKinsey reportedly were sommoned on Tuesday by the AFU, which is under the National Prosecution Authority (NPA).

The Guptas are being investigated for its alleged collaboration with President Jacob Zuma and a number of senior government officials in looting the state coffers, through the awarding of lucrative contracts with state-owned enterprises to Gupta-linked families, known as state capture.

Both the Guptas and Zuma have denied the accusation.



Train collision leaves four injured in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- Two trains collided at a depot in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province on Tuesday, causing minor to moderate injuries to four people.

This was confirmed by the Emergency Medical Care 24 (ER24) on Tuesday in a statement. They said the trains collided at a low speed at a depot.

“ER24 paramedics arrived at the depot to find four patients walking around the two trains. Paramedics assessed the four patients and found that all four had sustained minor to moderate injuries. Fortunately, no serious injuries or fatalities were found on the scene,” ER24 said.

The injured people were treated and transferred to the hospital for further treatment. Investigations were launched to probe the cause of the incident.

Of late there have been several train accidents in the country. On January 9, trains collided leaving more than 200 injured in Johannesburg. Late December, a train collided with a truck and a light motor vehicle, leaving 12 dead and over 200 injured in Free State.



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