3 state capture suspects are not in country - Mbalula

2018-02-15 12:56
Fikile Mbalula. (Simphiwe Nkwali, Gallo Images, Sunday Times, file)

Fikile Mbalula. (Simphiwe Nkwali, Gallo Images, Sunday Times, file)

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Johannesburg - Three suspects who are linked to the Free State Vrede dairy farm project are believed to be outside the borders of SA, said the Ministry of Police.

Spokesperson for the ministry Vuyo Mhaga said on Thursday that they were working with the National Prosecuting Authority on the state capture investigations.

He said 13 warrants of arrest were issued in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg.

Mhaga said a total of eight suspects, who have since appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court, had been arrested during an operation by the Hawks on Wednesday.  

LIVE: 8 suspects, including Gupta family member, appear in court for Vrede dairy farm case

He said police were still seeking two suspects while three others, two who are from India and one who is of Chinese origin, are believed to be outside of SA.

In January, the Hawks also conducted search and seizure operations at both Free State Premier Ace Magashule's offices and the provincial office of the department of agriculture.

'No holy cows'

An affidavit has also revealed that Free State's agricultural department - then under current Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane - paid R220m to the Guptas and some of their associates in what the Asset Forfeiture Unit calls a "scheme designed to defraud and steal monies from the department".

CLICK HERE for our #GuptaLeaks special report

One hundred black emerging farmers were promised five cows each as part of the empowerment scheme, but they never received them.

Gifted to the Gupta-linked Estina in 2013 under a free 99-year lease by the provincial agriculture department, the farm has been one of the most scandalous transactions between the Guptas and a government entity.

The #GuptaLeaks revealed in 2017 how at least R30m paid to the Guptas via the farm ended up funding the family's lavish Sun City wedding in 2013.

Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula commended the Hawks on the arrests made.

"I must appreciate the patience of the public in general for allowing the law enforcement agencies to do their work, these investigations naturally take a lot of time," Mbalula said.

Mbalula said investigations had been ongoing since mid-2017 on at least 17 dockets "without fear or favour and indeed with no holy cows".

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Read more on:    hawks  |  fikile mbalula  |  bloemfontein  |  crime  |  corruption

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