South Africa police on Friday raided India’s Bank of Baroda and seized documents in ongoing investigation into state corruption under former President Jacob Zuma.
Hangwani Mulaudzi, Spokesman of police’s elite “Hawks” unit, said in Johannesburg that the police raided the bank’s branches in Johannesburg and Durban and took documents showing bank transactions involving South African state firms.
Mulaudzi said: “We are of the view that Bank of Baroda was used as a conduit for the transfer of illicit funds.
“The raids are happening as part of ‘state capture’ investigations.”
Bank of Baroda is winding down its operations in South Africa.
It was thrust into the spotlight two years ago when it started working with the Guptas, a family of Indian-born businessmen at the centre of an influence-peddling scandal surrounding Zuma.
Zuma and the Guptas had denied wrongdoing.
A Bank of Baroda employee in Durban who picked the telephone confirmed that the Hawks had the bank’s premises on Friday. A representative of the bank’s Johannesburg office declined to comment.
An inquiry into allegations surrounding Zuma and the Guptas will begin formal public hearings in August and could take two years or more, officials have said.
Police earlier this year, raided the Guptas’ compound in Johannesburg as part of investigation into theft, fraud and money laundering at a state-backed dairy project in Free State province, meant to benefit the local community.
The whereabouts of the Gupta brothers is not publicly known. One of the brothers, Ajay Gupta, was declared a “fugitive from justice” after leaving South Africa for Dubai in February.
Gupta family representatives in South Africa could not be reached for comment.
Zuma was in court on Friday for a separate hearing relating to a 2.5 billion dollars arms deal from the 1990s.
He faces 16 charges of fraud, racketeering, corruption and money laundering in that case.