Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Estina dairy project: Former minister Mosebenzi Zwane due in court on corruption charges

The spokesperson for the NPA's Investigating Directorate, Sindisiwe Seboka, confirmed that the minister will appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court.

Former Cabinet minister Mosebenzi Zwane is expected to appear in court in the Free State on Wednesday, facing corruption charges related to the controversial Estina dairy farm project.

The spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Investigating Directorate, Sindisiwe Seboka, confirmed that a former minister will appear before the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.

“We can confirm that a former minister is expected to appear at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court. The accused is expected to appear on charges of fraud, theft, money laundering and corruption,” Seboka said.

According to several media reports, including Jacaranda FM, Media24 and TimesLIVE, the former minister in question is currently ANC MP and chairperson of parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport, Zwane.

ALSO READ: Estina dairy project: Guptas were pulling Magashule, Zwane’s strings

Zwane was the Free State Agriculture and Rural Development MEC at the time of the Dairy farm project.

The project, which was meant to empower local black farmers, has been embroiled in allegations of state capture after it emerged that the Gupta brothers funnelled millions of rand of taxpayers’ monies into their pockets.

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was the premier of the province at the time of the project.

State capture inquiry findings

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chaired the state capture commission, recommended that law enforcement agencies investigate Magashule and Zwane to establish whether they contravened any law in the roles they played in the Estina dairy farm project.

The commission found that all role players in the Free State project did the bidding of the Gupta family without any care for public funds or poor residents who should have benefited from the dairy farm project, as Zwane had promised them.

“Consideration must be given to seeking legal advice about instituting legal proceedings against Mosebenzi Zwane and Ace Magashule to recover such monies as may be recovered from them that were lost by the department of agriculture and rural development in the Vrede Dairy Project as a result of their failure on their part to perform their legal obligations,” Zondo said in his final state capture report.

The Gupta brothers, accused of being the architects of the country’s biggest corruption scandal of state capture, were arrested in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year by Interpol.

Rajesh ‘Tony’ and his brother Atul Gupta were nabbed for the R24.9 million Nulane Investment fraud and money laundering case.

The South African government had been in talks with the UAE for the extradition of the brothers so they can stand trial on fraud charges.

Additional reporting by Getrude Makhafola

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