Suspect South African Deals Cost $3.5 Billion, Study Finds

South Africa’s government spent 49 billion rand ($3.5 billion) on contracts with entities linked to members of the Gupta family, who allegedly exploited their close ties to former President Jacob Zuma to win suspect deals, a study has found.

The price tag was calculated by Shadow World Investigations, Paul Holden, a researcher at the London-based non-profit organization, told a judicial inquiry into state corruption on Monday. He described how money had flowed from state entities to firms linked to the Guptas, information that was gleaned from leaked banked statements.

The government estimates that in total more than 500 billion rand was stolen from its coffers during Zuma’s nine-year rule, which ended in 2018. The Guptas, who’ve left the country, and Zuma deny any wrongdoing.

Many contracts scrutinized by Shadow World deviated from procurement rules and contained other serious irregularities, Holden said.

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