Bail hearing of Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma resumes today

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The bail application of former Transnet board member and Gupta family associate, businessman Iqbal Sharma resumes on Tuesday morning in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court. Sharma is amongst 15 accused who are facing charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering relating to R24.9 million rand that Free State Department of Agriculture paid for a feasibility study for potential farming projects in the province.

The case was postponed to Tuesday for further evidence and arguments in this application.

Bail application of Gupta associate, businessman Iqbal Sharma postponed:

The state indicated that it is still verifying documents submitted by the accused. The state mentioned that it received affidavits late on Sunday and didn’t have enough time to verify all the documents.

Sharma’s legal representative, Advocate Johannes Coetzee, said that there were unforeseen circumstances that led to their late submission.

“That took us some time to complete the affidavit due to conditions at the Bainsvlei Police station. The state has been dealing with this case for some time so they are in possession of all the necessary information.”

On Monday, former Free State head of the Department of Agriculture, Peter Thabethe, who appeared briefly with Sharma, was granted bail of R10 000 in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.

His case has been postponed to 5 July.

Freezing of assets

On Friday, the Bloemfontein High Court granted an order to freeze assets of Iqbal Sharma, his company Nulane Investments and Islandsite Investments.

NPA Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said it is an unlimited restrain order.

“For starters, it’s an unlimited restrain order meaning all the assets owned by Nulane Investments, the company owned by Iqbal Sharma the sole director as well as all the assets owned by Islandsite, one of the few companies in South Africa that still has assets owned by the Guptas. The directors of that particular company are the Gupta brothers Atul Gupta and Rajesh Gupta as well as their wives. Furthermore, that is the company that we are alleging where money was siphoned in and out, money laundered. So we are saying it’s the company that at one point had over R500 million within a short period of time. So we are saying this company and the Bloemfontein High Court has actually said on the balance of probabilities that reasonably this could have been assets of money laundering so they are they have been frozen.”

Seboka said plans are under way to have the Guptas extradited.

NPA applies for extradition order from Interpol of Gupta brothers: