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Compiled by Devina Haripersad

Senior Business/Finance journalist

Estina dairy project case back in court

The charges against the accused span a range of serious allegations including fraud, corruption and money laundering.

The Estina dairy farm case involving former minister Mosebenzi Zwane and 15 co-accused is set to resume in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

The charges against Zwane and his co-accused span a range of serious allegations including fraud, corruption and money laundering.

The charges are linked to a complex web of events surrounding the alleged misappropriation of funds from the Free State Department of Agriculture, which were intended for the establishment of a dairy farm project in Vrede.

ALSO READ: Gupta-linked associates back in court for Estina R37m fraud case

According to reports, the primary objective of the project was to uplift historically disadvantaged farmers residing in Vrede.

However, a review of bank records revealed that no disbursements were made to benefit these recipients. Instead, the dairy farm functioned as a mere conduit through which funds were channelled to India.

Among the accused are prominent figures such as the former head of the Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Peter Thabethe, as well as the former chief financial officer, Seipati Dlamini. Additionally, the proceedings involve Ronica Ragavan, the former director of Islandsite, and eight other corporate entities.

Financial empowerment

The Vrede Dairy Project, initiated in 2012 on Krynaauwslust Farm, was established in collaboration with Estina, a Black Economic Empowerment firm, as part of the Mohoma-Mobung Agricultural Initiative led by the Free State government.

The land was allocated to Estina through a lease that spanned 99 years.

ALSO READ: Estina dairy project: Mosebenzi Zwane and co-accused due in court

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