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Wed, 21 Feb 2018
Fugitive Ajay Gupta still in the country

Ajay Gupta, who has officially been named a fugitive by the Hawks, is still on run — with the help of a security company.

Speaking in an interview with PowerFM on Friday morning, Hawk’s spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said that they know Ajay Gupta is still in the country and they also know the security company protecting him. The Hawks is set to engage with the company.

Mulaudzi said: “Those protecting him must know they are protecting a wanted suspect. They will be charged with aiding and abetting a suspect.”

Muladuzi also revealed that another director of a Gupta company is facing imminent arrest.

Officials at OR Tambo International Airport reportedly  told Eyewitness News (EWN) they’re working with the Hawks to establish the whereabouts of Ajay Gupta, who is now considered a fugitive.

OR Tambo International Airport spokesperson Leigh Gunkel-Keuler has told EWN that their records show that Ajay Gupta left the airport on a Dubai-bound Emirates flight 10 days ago. If he returned to South Africa, he may have done so through other ports of entry Gunkel-Keuler said.

A manhunt is underway for former President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzani after the Hawks descended on his Saxonwold mansion in a pre-dawn raid. Duduzani is being sought for his alleged involvement in the fraud scandal at the Estina dairy farm at Vrede in the Free State.

On Thursday, The Star newspaper reported that one of Duduzani’s business associates, Atul Gupta, was picked up while trying to flee the country.  According to the report, the pilot of the private aircraft Atul was on, refused to fly from Lanseria airport.

The Hawks had reportedly called on Atul to hand himself in or face being branded a ‘fugitive’, according to Business Day newspaper.

Mail & Guardian reporter Ra’eesa Pather reports from Bloemfontein that a large contingent of police were preventing journalists from entering the courtroom with spaces apparently being reserved for politicians.

After the intervention of the South African National Editor’s Forum (Sanef) and court officials, the Bloemfontein Regional Court has said it will look into making provisions for one reporter and one photographer per media house to enter the courtroom.


Eight people and three companies are implicated in the matter.

Ashu Chawla, Nazeem Howa, Varun Gupta, Ronica Ragavan, Peter Thabethe, Dr Tikisi Masiteng, Sylvia Dlamini and Kamal Vasram are appearing in Court 29 of the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court to face charges of fraud in connection with the Free State Vrede dairy farm project.

The accused face charges of fraud, theft, conspiracy to commit fraud and theft, contravening the Public Finance Management Act, contravening the Companies Act and contravening sections of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Former Free State agriculture head Peter Thabethe was arrested on Wednesday after a an early morning raid at his home in Bloemfontein. Thabethe was the head of department at the time that Mosebenzi Zwane, who is now Minister of Mineral Resources, was the agriculture MEC.

Varun Gupta, the nephew of the Gupta brothers, along with his uncle Atul resigned in April 2016  as respective chairperson and chief executive of Oakbay Resources, in response to what they called a “sustained political attack”.

The two vacated their [...]

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Thu, 15 Feb 2018
Samsung’s mobile division continues to struggle

Samsung earned $14.13 billion in operating profit in the fourth quarter of last year but this stellar performance can’t really be attributed to the company’s mobile division. Samsung’s mobile business has been under pressure for quite a while now due to several factors such as increasing competition from Chinese rivals in key markets.

The company released its earnings results for Q4 2017 today and they reveal that the struggles of its mobile business are far from over.

It may get worse before it gets better.

Samsung’s mobile division posted 25.47 trillion won or $23.8 billion in consolidated revenue for the quarter with an operating profit of 2.42 trillion won or $2.2 billion. Revenue is flat compared to the same period in 2016 while the operating profit is slightly down compared to 2.50 trillion won or $2.34 billion in Q4 2016.

Samsung attributes this to a surge in marketing costs during the holiday season. It also mentions that total smartphone shipments decreased in Q4 2016 due to the lineup optimization of its low-end models. Samsung does point out that shipments of flagship products like the Galaxy Note 8 were up compared to Q3 2017.

The company doesn’t provide shipment figures so it’s difficult to ascertain precisely how many units it shipped in the previous quarter and by what percentage shipments of its premium handsets increased.

Samsung expects its mobile division to perform better in 2018 on the back of growing replacement demand for premium smartphones. It’s also going to optimize its mid and low-end lineups further to achieve qualitative growth of the smartphone business.

However, the company forecasts weak demand for smartphones and tablets in the first quarter due to low seasonality, not to mention the fact that many customers will hold off buying a new flagship until the Galaxy S9 comes out. Samsung expects to increase its shipments in this period by pushing the new Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8+ (2018).

From the looks of it, it’s going to get worse before it gets better for Samsung’s mobile division. It’s already having to deal with saturation in the flagship segment and the company has been coming under increasing pressure from the likes of Xiaomi in key markets like India. It’s being squeezed at both ends and unless Samsung takes major steps to increase its profit margins while also effectively competing against Chinese rivals, it’s mobile division may not contribute much to the bottom line.



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Thu, 15 Feb 2018
Rand firmer on trade surplus, weaker dollar

The Rand firmed against the dollar yesterday, supported by a weaker greenback and data showing the country’s trade surplus widened last year.

At 5pm, the rand bid at R11.8495 to the dollar, 11.34c stronger than at the same time on Tuesday, about 0.85percent firmer than its close on Tuesday.

South Africa’s trade surplus in December widened to R15.72billion from a R13.05bn surplus in November, the revenue agency said.

On a cumulative basis the trade balance between January and December was at a R80.55bn surplus compared to a R1.05bn surplus over the same period in 2016.

“One of the catalysts is the slight dollar weakness that has come into the market that has helped South Africa and the rest of emerging markets gain a little bit of ground,” said Treasury One chief currency dealer, Wichard Cilliers. He added: “The trade surplus has also helped the rand slightly.”

Market attention was also pinned on President Jacob Zuma’s future as head of state.

South African news website News24 reported late on Tuesday that top officials from the ANC would meet Zuma to discuss “options” to avoid him being impeached or voted out by parliament.

The ANC has been discussing whether to tell Zuma, whose presidency has been tainted by corruption allegations, to resign.

Any sign that Zuma could go before his second term ends next year has tended to boost domestic assets, including the rand.

Government bonds also firmed, with the yield for the benchmark instrument falling 9 basis points to 8.47percent.

In equity markets, the main stock indices ended little changed but Vodacom was in demand after the mobile phone operator reported higher quarterly sales.

Vodacom, the unit of Britain’s Vodafone, advanced 5.45percent to R163.50 after posting a 6.7percent increase in third-quarter sales thanks to increasing customer base.

Among other top gainers, Barclays Africa Group rose 4.13percent to R180.10.

The blue chip JSE Top40 index was off 0.16percent at 52614.65 points and the broader all share index inched down 0.07percent to close at 59506.12 points




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