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Give us state's R600m ads budget, Guptas told GCIS boss

by 13/12/2017 13:55:00 0 comments 1 Views

Ajay Gupta asked former Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) boss Themba Maseko in 2010 to transfer the government's R600-million advertising budget to him, Maseko said on Wednesday.

Speaking to host Bongani Bingwa on talk radio station 702, Maseko said: “So what he was basically telling me was that I must transfer the whole advertising budget to his company so that they can actually have the capital to start running the business.

“He made it very clear to me that he wasn’t asking me. He was telling me that I need to transfer the budget.”

The media company the Guptas were setting up later became The New Age newspaper and television channel ANN7.

Maseko said Ajay Gupta knew the government advertising budget was R600-million.

“He said I must make sure that that budget is transferred to his benefit.”

Maseko said he told Ajay that protocol dictated there had to be a bidding process and that the budget was not allocated to the GCIS‚ but to various departments.

“Different departments then come to us to do media placing for them and we then get the money from the departments to pay the media companies‚” he said.

“He said to me‚ quite clearly‚ if there is any department that was resisting to do the transfer‚ I must come back to him‚ report to him‚ and he has the authority to summon any minister to come to his house.”

Maseko said the meeting ended after he told Ajay he was not interested. “I was very clear in my mind that I was not going to be instructed by any person‚ be they a Gupta or anybody‚ to break the rules.”

Ajay also contacted Maseko shortly before the launch of The New Age to arrange a meeting. Maseko declined the invitation.

“At the end of that conversation‚ he then said to me‚ he was going to talk to my superiors to make sure that they deal with me … It really made my life difficult as head of GCIS.”

Maseko was removed two months later and replaced by Mzwanele Manyi, the current owner of The New Age and ANN7.

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