The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says the extradition process for Atul Gupta and his wife has started. This is in relation to a matter that involves 17 suspects, four of them being the companies named in the Estina Dairy Farm scandal.
The Free State Agriculture Department’s former heads, Peter Thabethe and Dimakatso Moorosi, former chief financial officer Seipati Dlamini and businessman Iqhbal Sharma appeared briefly in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning. They have been charged with contravening the Public Finance Management Act.
Iqhbal is also facing charges of money laundering and fraud.
Moorosi and Dlamini are expected to proceed with their bail applications while Thabethe and Iqhbal have their bail hearing on Monday.
Former Free State agriculture senior officials, Gupta associate appear in court:
This relates to the R24 million that was paid in 2011 for the feasibility study for the Estina Dairy Farm in Vrede,
NPA Investigating Directorate spokesperson, Sindisiwe Seboka, says they will oppose the bail application of the four suspects.
“So essentially, today we expected that the defence will be ready for the bail hearing to bring the application and it’s supposed to make a submission. So, we have made it clear to the defence that we do plan to oppose bail for all the accused before court today, for a number of reasons. So, the two accused, Peter Thabethe head of agriculture in the Free State as well as Ighbal Sharma businessman and a former DTI head honcho, then decided they will only return on Monday where they’ll have formal pleading for a bail hearing.”