Senior Counsel Advocate Nazeer Cassim representing the state has argued that the absence of other accused in court in the case involving R 25 million paid by the Free State Department of Agriculture to Nulane Investment is contentious to the court.
Only four of the accused have made an appearance in the High Court in Bloemfontein where the pre-trial hearing is meant to get under way.
Others are reported to have been delayed by flights grounded by weather.
Former head of the Department Agriculture, Peter Thabethe, Limakatso Moorosi, Sylvia Dlamini, and Gupta associate Ronica Ragavan are appearing in court in a pre-trial hearing.
The case involves R 25 million that was allegedly paid to Nulane Investment, a company owned and controlled by Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma.
From there the funds were diverted to Islandsite Investments a company owned and controlled by the Gupta family.
The millions were purportedly paid to Nulane to conduct a feasibility study for the Free State Province’s flagship Mohoma Mobung project, on the basis that Nulane had unique skills to perform the work.
Cassim has also told the court that in terms of case management the state has not made much progress in the matter.
The court is supposed to finalise all pre-trial issues, ahead of trial scheduled to be heard next year from January 23 to March 3, 2023.
Judge Martha Mbele warned the legal representatives that she would keep the absent accused in a place where she is sure they are present when she needs them in court.
VIDEO: Last year, Gupta-owned company co-director was released on R10,000 bail:
-By Kamogelo Seekoei