The State Capture Commission continues on Tuesday with testimony relating to alleged fraud and corruption at the Estina Dairy farm in Vrede, Free State.

The Deputy Director General Corporate administration in the Free State Premier’s office, Albertus Venter will resume his testimony after which the commission will hear from two of the farm’s beneficiaries.

On Monday, Venter says an Advocate from his office drafted the second agreement between the Gupta-linked Estina company and the Free State government.

Venter was the second witness to testify at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry about the controversial Estina Dairy Farm project in Vrede.

The Free State government was allocated over R220 million for the failed project.

Venter says the first agreement did not address the implementation of the project and Treasury had raised concerns.

“The concern which was also raised is that there was supposed to be a R30 million initial payment. But in the first agreement, it was not clear as to exactly what deliverable for that R30 million is supposed to be. And what we agreed then was we should get the information and rather prepare a proper agreement that at least covers that R30 million,” says Venter.

Gupta-linked Estina
More than R200 million meant for the project to help emerging black farmers was allegedly looted by provincial officials and the Gupta family.
DA member of the provincial legislature, Roy Jankielsohn told the Commission on Monday that the farm was meant to benefit about 80 farmers, and ended up benefitting only the Gupta family.
He adds that Free State government is still paying R20 million annually to the Vrede dairy project which has now been taken over by the Free State Development Cooperation.
During his testimony about the controversial Estina project, Jankielsohn said the provincial government said the project was not self-sustainable, hence the additional funding.
The Gupta-linked Estina was paid R136 million by the Free State Department of Agriculture after the project was cancelled.
Jankielsohn said the department cancelled the contract in 2014 and the acting MEC then said no claim was made by Estina since the cancellation.

“Since the cancellation of the contract on 20 December 2014, and we mention the contract was terminated in August 2014, an amount of over R29 million was paid to Estina by the provincial department on 8th May 2015; an amount of R60 million was paid to Estina by provincial department and 5th May 2016; over R46 million was paid to Estina by provincial department,” Jankielsohn told the Commission.

State Capture Commission Chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said the constitutional obligations of Parliament and Provincial legislatures would need to be interrogated if he finds that the state was indeed captured.

Zondo was reacting to testimony by Jenkielsohn about the controversial project.