There is another shocking twist in the Gupta’s family debacle, shortly after another major bust was made at the OR Tambo International Airport.
Hinnewssa investigative reporter gathered that the X-ray scanner picked up something suspicious in a suit case belonging to the powerful family.
The Fireblade security asked to see what was inside, a Gupta security staffer refused, took the bag from the counter and left.
Fireblade this week confirmed a “potential security incident” early one morning in April last year, but would not identify which client was involved.
A spokesperson said: “One of the suitcases caused our X-ray operator to have concerns. The operator had seen what he thought to be suspicious items inside the suitcase.
“He then asked the representative of the owner of the piece of luggage in question to open the suitcase for further inspection.
“After some discussion the representative … opened the suitcase, but declined a request for a full examination of the contents. [He] then took back the suitcase and removed it from the Fireblade premises.”
The spokesperson said Fireblade immediately reported the incident to security at OR Tambo, where customs officers would have had to also check the aircraft before takeoff.
But historical flight tracking records show that, at around 08:45 that morning, ZS-AKG, owned by the Guptas’ Islandsite Investments 180, flew northeast from a position near OR Tambo.
The Guptas, via public relations firm Bell Pottinger, declined to comment.
At the time of their hurried departure from South Africa six days earlier, the Guptas denied reports they had moved large amounts of cash out of the country.
But their late-night departure on April 7, the discovery of their R458m house in Dubai’s Emirates Hills, and allegations by Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema of millions of rands in cash being flown out of the country on private planes have raised doubts.
Although the family said it planned to sell all business interests in South Africa by the end of last year, this has not happened and they have maintained a partial presence in the country.
There are also strong reactions by South Africans about the need for a speedy prosecution of the Guptas.