The High Court in Bloemfontein will on Thursday hear the R24.9 million fraud and corruption Nulane Investments case.
The case relates to the Free State Agriculture Department’s alleged fraudulent procurement of a feasibility study.
The state alleges that Gupta family business associate, Iqbal Sharma, and the former heads of the provincial Rural Development Department Peter Thabethe, Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dhlamini, colluded to divert funds earmarked for rural development in the province.
The money was purportedly paid to Nulane Investments to conduct a feasibility study for the Free State Province’s flagship Mohoma Mobung project, on the basis that the company had unique skills to perform the work.
Nulane, however, had no employees on its books. The accused face charges of fraud and money laundering.
The former government officials are also charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.
In June, Senior Counsel Advocate Nazeer Cassim, representing the state, argued that the absence of other accused in court in the case involving R24.9 million paid by the Free State Department of Agriculture to Nulane Investments is contentious to the court.
Only four of the accused made an appearance in the High Court. Others are reported to have been delayed by flights grounded by weather.
Cassim also told the court that in terms of case management the state has not made much progress in the matter.
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, the Gupta-owned company’s co-director was released on R10 000 bail: