Wednesday, 05 December 2018
Bloemfontein: The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has provisionally withdrawn its case against 11 accused who were allegedly involved in the Estina dairy farm case.
“As a result of the outstanding evidence that is not within our jurisdiction, the State is not in a position to comply with the paragraph 2 of the court order dated 21 August 2018.
“The NPA has decided to provisionally withdraw all the charges because there is evidence that is not within our jurisdiction. The NPA is of the view that this outstanding evidence is crucial to the successful prosecution in the case,” said Free State NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping.
On 21 August 2018, the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court granted the State postponement until 4 December 2018 for further investigation.
The NPA had until 30 November 2018 to hand over the finalised case docket and final indictment for the trial, in the case where the NPA alleged that R250 million intended for uplifting poor black farmers in the province was siphoned to Gupta related companies.
The NPA said it had not received information regarding the Mutual Legal Assistance requests made to India and United Arab Emirates, as a result the investigation is not finalised.
“The NPA can reinstate prosecution once the investigation is finalised and the outstanding information is obtained,” said Shuping.
Peter Thabethe, Sylvia Dlamini, Takisi Masiteng, Varun Gupta, Ronica Ragavan, Ashu Chawla, Kamal Vasram and Nazeem Howa were among the accused.
They were charged together with three companies, namely, Estina Pty (Ltd), Oakbay Investment and Aerohaven first appeared in court in February 2018.
The accused were facing charges of fraud, theft, conspiracy to commit fraud and theft, contravening the Public Finance Management Act and contravening sections of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.