NDPP lose bid to seize tycoon’s assets

2015-04-21 00:00

A KWAZULU-NATAL businessman, Ishwarlall Ramlutchman of Richards Bay, who admitted committing fraud and corruption, will not forfeit his assets.

Yesterday the Pietermaritzburg high court dismissed an appeal by the National Director of Public Prosecutions against the refusal of a magistrate from the commercial crimes unit to allow the state to take assets from Ramlutchman to the value of the contracts he’d fulfilled to build schools in the province.

The contracts were estimated to be worth around R52 million.

High court Judge Daya Pillay and Acting Judge Piet Bezuidenhout agreed with the magistrate’s findings that the law only allows the state to seize the profits of crime. In the present case the state had failed to establish what those profits were.

Ramlutchman had pleaded guilty last year to charges of fraud and corruption for submitting false documents to the Construction Industry Development Board, based on which he qualified to be awarded contracts to build schools in KZN.

He was handed a fine of R500 000 (or 10 years’ imprisonment), plus 10 years’ imprisonment, which was wholly suspended for five years by the trial magistrate.

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