Estina dairy farm case provisionally withdrawn

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The case against the eight suspects in the Gupta-linked Estina dairy farm case at Vrede in the Free State has been provisionally withdrawn at the Bloemfontein regional court.

The accused include former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa, Varum Gupta, nephew of Gupta brothers and former Free State HOD at the Department of Agriculture Peter Thabethe.

They are accused of fraud and corruption. The case was postponed in August to allow the NPA to gather more evidence on the more than R220 million Estina dairy project corruption case.

NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping says decision to withdraw the case is mainly to give the investigators time to gather more evidence in India and the UAE.

Shuping says the case will be back on the court roll when necessary information has been gathered.

He says: “What we are saying is that let’s rather provisionally withdraw the charges so that the police can have their own time to investigate whatever outstanding evidence that we think is crucial to our case. Once that evidence is made available to us, the prosecution will reconsider that decision. It’s not a win for the accused because the matter can be placed back on the court roll once that information is made available.”