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Iqbal Sharma, 16 co-accused to appear at the Bloemfontein High Court

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A Gupta family associate, Iqbal Sharma, and 16 accused which include officials from the Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are set to appear at the Bloemfontein High Court on Friday for a pre-trial hearing.

They are facing fraud, corruption, and money laundering charges amounting to R25 million.

The case relates to payment made by the Free State Department of Agriculture between 2011 and 2012 to Nulane Investment for a feasibility study for potential farming projects in the province.

The funds were allegedly diverted to the Islandsite Investments company owned by the Gupta family.

The state alleges that the accused colluded in diverting the cash.

The accused include former Transnet board member and Gupta family business associate, Iqbal Sharma, Nulane Investment representative, Dinesh Patel and co-director of Islandsite Investments, Ronica Ragavan.

Also, former government officials in the Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Peter Thabethe, Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dhlamini.

The state has indicated in the past that it is ready to continue with the prosecution of the accused that are currently in the country.

This while it is working on extraditing the Gupta family members who are also implicated.

NPA commits to prosecute State Capture cases within three to six months

In May, the Bloemfontein High Court dismissed the application by Islandsite Investments to have the restraint order application on the Gupta assets postponed.

The Gupta-owned company, Islandsite Investments, argued that it had approached the Supreme Court of Appeal in a bid to overturn the high court order on the legal representation of the Islandsite.

It contended that the court cannot entertain the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s application to make a permanent restraint order on the Gupta assets and those of the Gupta family business associate, Iqbal Sharma.

Source: TimesLive

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