News / South Africa / State Capture

Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
3 Dec 2020
3:09 pm

Investigator breaks down how Guptas raked in R229m from Estina project

Citizen Reporter

The Gupta enterprise benefited from the majority of the fund transfers, which were laundered a number of times, before being poured into Estina. 

File image: Dairy cows on the Vrede dairy farm in the Free State. Picture: Neil McCartney

The infamous Gupta brothers seem to have pocketed nearly R230 million of the R280 million that the Free State government pumped into the controversial Vrede Farm Dairy project, according to a forensic investigator’s testimony at the Zondo commission.

The State Capture Commission on Thursday heard an intricate breakdown of money flowing to and from the Gupta enterprise, a series of companies owned by the family, and the Free State Estina Dairy project. 

The figures were provided by director of investigations at Shutterworld Investigations in London, Paul Holden.

Holden calculated the total amount of funds received by Estina between June 2012 and April 2017. 

In total, Holden testified that the Free State government paid R280,202,652 in eight separate tranches between 9 July 2012 and 5 May 2016.

READ MORE: Vrede Dairy Project findings to be concluded month end, Mkhwebane confirms

The Gupta enterprise benefited from the majority of the fund transfers, which were laundered a number of times, before being poured into Estina. 

Overall, Holden explained that the complex money laundering scheme saw Free State government’s funds paid out of Estina and returned back into Estina, to make it seem as though Estina was deriving money from other sources.

Money flowed from the Free State

However, most of the funds came from the Free State government, he explained. 

The grand total of payments that came into the Estina account was R880,345,365.83, which included accrued interest. 

However, just 3.98%, or R35 87 788.77, was not derived from Free State government funds. 

Holden said this figure could be even smaller.

Infographic: Costa Makola

The total value of deposits made by the Free State, and the interest on these deposits, amounts to more than R287 million. 

Of this, R229,038,271.82 was transferred to various companies of the Gupta enterprise. 

Gateway Limited received R83,703,664.32 from Estina’s Standard Bank account, and R85,828,732.50 from its FNB account. This means Gateway received a total of R169,532,396.82. 

  • $3,330,700 was transferred to the benefit of Linkway Trading, and $3,350,000 to Oakbay Investments. 
  • R34,563,583.12 was also paid to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) for VAT obligations.

Of the total amount, R263,601,851.94 was paid out cumulatively to Gateway, Vagafield and Sars for VAT payments connected to Estina. Of the funds from Free State, R59,505,875 was transferred to Vagafield from Estina’s Standard and FNB accounts. 

Of the total funds, R21,746,697.18 was transferred to accounts other than those previously mentioned, made up of a mixture of payments for the costs of running the dairy enterprise and paying salaries. 

Compiled by Nica Richards.

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