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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Gupta associates linked to R37.7 million Estina dairy fraud appear in court

The case involves a pasteurisation plant imported from India which was invoiced to Estina by Gateway, an alleged Gupta front company in the UAE.

The trial of two alleged Gupta associates linked to the R37.7 million Estina diary project fraud is expected to resume on Tuesday.

Kamal Vasram and Saliesh Indurjeeth, who are out on bail, are expected to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court.

The duo face charges of fraud, contravention of Section 54(1)(A) of the International Trade Administration Act, and contravention of regulation 22 of the Exchange Control Act charges arising from a joint investigation by Sars and the National Prosecuting Authority‘s (NPA) Investigating Directorate.

The charges arise from a joint investigation by Sars and the Investigating Directorate (ID) into the failed Free State project, and the duo have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Pasteurisation plant

A pasteurisation plant imported from India was invoiced to Estina by Gateway, an alleged Gupta front company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In March, the court heard evidence from the state’s first witness, Piet Swart, a Sars investigator with more than 40 years of experience.

ALSO READ: UAE request to resubmit Gupta’s extradition application ‘delaying the process’

The NPA said Swart testified how the custom clearance document (SAD 500 and invoice), which included a customs declaration form, was submitted via Sars’ electronic data information (EDI) system by UTI as the clearing agent on behalf of Estina, to support a fraudulent VAT refund claim.

The documents related to nine shipping containers that carried different dairy equipment purportedly from Gateway Limited – an alleged Gupta front company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Vasram and Indurjeeth were arrested early last year after they were “directly linked” to the failed dairy farm project.

Gupta extradition

Meanwhile, South Africa’s resubmission of a request for the extradition of Atul and Rajesh Gupta is being held up because the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has not provided the justice department with requested information.

Justice ministry spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri told The Citizen minister Ronald Lamola met with his counterpart Abdullah Sultan Awad Al Nuaim and other UAE prosecuting authorities in June to discuss the extradition of Rajesh and Atul.

However, Phiri said the UAE Central Authority had sent a request to South Africa to urgently resubmit a new extradition request for the Gupta brothers.

ALSO READ: Gupta-linked associates back in court

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