The five accused in the R24.9 million fraud and corruption scandal case will appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
His brother-in-law, Dinesh Patel, and three former officials from the Free State Department of Agriculture – Peter Thabethe, Dr Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dhlamini – were granted R10 000 bail each.
The accused are facing charges relating to the millions of rand paid by the Free State Department of Agriculture for a feasibility study on potential farming projects in the province.
In opposing bail, the state cited that Sharma presents an overwhelming flight risk and has the means and incentives to flee the country. It also contends that he failed to disclose R265 million held in his United Arab Emirates Issar Global account.
Sharma is also implicated in a range of other fraud and corrupt acts, which allegedly enabled the Gupta family to extract payments of more than R7 billion from Transnet.
His brother-in-law, Dinesh Patel, was the representative of the Nulane Investment when the R24.9-million was allegedly paid to the company.
Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court grants Dinesh Patel R10 000 bail:
During the appointments of companies, no competitive bidding was conducted.
NPA Investigating Directorate Spokesperson, Sindisiwe Seboka, says the matter will proceed in court as planned.
“In line with level four lockdown regulations, the investigating directorate in consultation with the defence have decided that the accused or the matter be postponed without the accused visibly being in court. However, the matter will proceed as planned and the docket will be handed over to them in order for them to best prepare.”
The NPA’s Investigating Directorate alleges that Sharma, Thabethe, Moorosi and Dhlamini colluded to divert funds earmarked to alleviate poverty. The funds were then allegedly placed at the disposal of the Gupta family.
The NPA is applying to Interpol to assist with the execution of arrest warrants for the Gupta family and others. In total, there are 17 accused, including companies, in this matter.