Land fraud case set for 2012

2011-10-03 00:00

THE fraud and corruption case against Ladysmith businessman Roshan Sewpersadh and three Rural Development and Land Reform officials was postponed to December 14 to finalise the investigation and set the trial date.

The trial has been provisionally set down for April 2012, according to Natasha Ramkisson of the National Prosecution Authority (NPA).

Sewpersadh, Promise Phumzile Makhanya, Bhekumuzi Patrick Masoka and Sibusiso Chapi were arrested and charged with fraud and corruption in February.

The businessman was released on R50 000 bail while the three officials were each granted R20 000 bail.

Ramkisson dislcosed yesterday that Sewpersadh's wife, Neresha, and his father, Ammarchand, were arrested on the same charges in July.

They were each released on R20 000 bail.

“Neresha and Ammarchand Sewpersadh were added as accused in July 29. The postponement of the case is to finalise the investigation and to set the official trial date, which will possibly be April 2012, depending on the availability of regional magistrates,” said Ramkisson.

In February the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) preserved Sewpersadh’s farms, which were bought for labour tenants by the provincial government in early 2001 at a cost of more than R36 million.

Investigations led to the arrest of the department officials when it was allegedly discovered that they had colluded with Sewpersadh in obtaining the farms.

The farms were purchased under the Elandsjagt project with Abrina 6822 being the ultimate beneficiary.

The Roscoe Family Trust was the sole shareholder and was entirely controlled by the Sewpersadh family, in particular Roshen, according to court papers at the time.

Between 1999 and 2000 the tenants allegedly filed an application for ownership with Rural Development under the government’s land restitution and redistribution policy.

The Witness reported at the time that Sewpersadh and the officials tricked labour tenants into signing forms without knowing what they were for. The forms gave Sewpersadh ownership of the farms in place of the labour tenants.

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