Denel board chairman Daniel Mantsha reportedly supplied the Gupta family with what has been called “sensitive information” at the time the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate was setting up a joint venture with a company allegedly linked to the family.
According to the Huffington Post, leaked emails reportedly show Mantsha gave the information to “Gupta associates at a time when Denel was negotiating a joint venture with one of their companies”.
The joint venture referred to is Denel Asia, which is on hold pending an application by Denel in the North Gauteng High Court to have it approved. At the same time National Treasury is opposed to the joint venture, which is apparently set to be based in Hong Kong, and has filed court papers against Denel Asia becoming a business entity and trading.
The digital publication reported Mantsha and the Guptas began communicating soon after Mantsha was appointed Denel chairman by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown in July 2014.
The Huffington Post goes on to say: “Mantsha received an email from someone in the Department of Public Enterprises on November 23, 2015, advising Denel on how to go about setting up the joint venture. Mantsha reportedly forwarded this email to Ashu Chawla of Sahara, one of the Gupta’s companies.
“Meanwhile, Mantsha reportedly applied to Treasury for approval for the joint venture a day after Des van Rooyen was appointed as finance minister. But Van Rooyen was fired a few days later and did not have time to consider the application.
“However, Pravin Gordhan, who replaced him, had concerns about it. There were reportedly concerns about VR Asia being newly established without any assets or intellectual property to offer the state-owned entity.”
Mantsha was struck off the attorneys roll in 2007 before being re-admitted in 2011 and was also a legal advisor to former communications minister, Dinah Pule. This was confirmed at the time of his appointment as chairman of Denel by the then Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow communications minister Gavin Davis.