The criminal case against Gupta-linked businessman and former Transnet board member, Iqbal Sharma, and his co-accused has been postponed to 23 February 2022.
The Bloemfontein Regional Court on Monday postponed the case in order to resolve pretrial issues. The court also transferred the case to the High Court in Bloemfontein.
The case relates to procurement fraud involving R24.9 million that was paid between November 2011 and April 2012 by the Free State department of agriculture to Sharma’s company – Nulane Investment 204 – to conduct a feasibility study for the province’s flagship Mohoma Mobung project.
The Free State’s infamous Estina dairy farm was one of the programmes included in the Mohoma Mobung project.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Investigating Directorate (ID), the R24.9 million was diverted to Islandsite Investments 180 – a company owned by the controversial Gupta family.
The accused in the matter is Ronica Ragavan, who stands accused in her personal capacity and in her representative capacity as a director of Islandsite Investments 180.
The other co-accused are former Free State department of rural development heads Peter Thabethe and Limakatso Moorosi, and the department’s former chief financial officer Seipati Dhlamini.
The accused face charges of fraud and money laundering.
“The former government officials are also charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act. The group is charged together with two companies, Nulane Investments 204 (Pty) Ltd and Islandsite Investments Pty Ltd,” said ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka in a statement.
During court proceedings on Monday, the warrant of arrest issued in October against Sharma’s brother-in-law and Nulane Investments employee, Dinesh Patel, due to ill health was also cancelled.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe