AS IT HAPPENED: Hawks 'don't want to compromise investigation' into Vrede dairy farm project

2018-02-23 12:30

During a brief update on the Vrede dairy farm case, the Hawks have said they cannot divulge too much information about suspects who are among those yet to be arrested, as they don't want to compromise the investigation.

 - For the latest updates, follow News24 reporter Alex Mitchley: @AlexMitchley


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Last Updated at 01:03
23 Feb 12:44

And with that, the briefing ends.

23 Feb 12:33

Matakata: "Within that 13 (identified suspects), eight appeared in court, one is Ajay Gupta, and we didn't pronounce on the others, because we couldn't establish their whereabouts." 

Matakata doesn't want to divulge too much information about the five suspects who have not yet been arrested, because the Hawks don't want to "compromise the investigation".

23 Feb 12:30

23 Feb 12:29

23 Feb 12:28

Matakata responds on question of 'pronouncement': "We've never made pronouncement on anyone else (other than the 8 arrested), difficult for me to make any reference to him (Duduzane Zuma), as was made in the public space."

Matakata: There is correspondence between ourselves and Ajay Gupta's lawyer. 

23 Feb 12:27

Matakata first responds to an off-topic question about terrorist attacks in SA.

23 Feb 12:23

News24 journalist Alex Mitchley asks for clarification on what the 'no pronouncement' of warrant of arrest against Duduzane Zuma means - does it mean there is a warrant? Also, will Ajay Gupta be handing himself over? 

23 Feb 12:20

23 Feb 12:20

Matakata says there was no 'pronouncement' of warrant of arrest for Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane Zuma.

23 Feb 12:18

Matakata: But as I clarify now, on what is Mr Ajay Gupta sought on, as I indicated it's on an unrelated matter to the Estina (project), but it's on corruption as well. 

Matakata says the minister was misinformed.

23 Feb 12:12

Matakata finishes off the briefing barely 10 minutes after it started, and is now taking questions.

23 Feb 12:10

Matakata: "The warrant of arrest on Ajay Gupta is on an unrelated case of corruption, and is still active until it is executed." 

23 Feb 12:10

23 Feb 12:09

Matakata provides some brief background info on the investigation up until now.

23 Feb 12:08

23 Feb 12:07

Matakata starts off by extending condolences to the police officers killed in the Ngcobo massacre.

23 Feb 12:00

23 Feb 11:57


NPA opposes Atul Gupta's AFU challenge 

The National Prosecuting Authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has filed opposing papers in a court application Atul Gupta has lodged to have a preservation order against him set aside.

In an answering affidavit, which was filed in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein on Wednesday, prosecuting authorities set out precisely why they say that R10m in Gupta's personal bank account constituted the proceeds of corruption, fraud and money laundering.

Gupta claims that they misled the court with the evidence they presented so that they could secure the preservation order.

However, the AFU says the money was paid from the Estina dairy project, which received it from the Department of Agriculture in the Free State. 

23 Feb 11:57


Vrede dairy farm case: Kamal Vasram gets R100 000 bail 

One of the eight people arrested by the Hawks during raids at a number of Gupta compounds, including their Saxonwold home and reportedly at one of their offices in Sandton last week, was granted bail in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Monday.

Estina director Kamal Vasram was granted bail of R100 000, National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said.

Shuping said Vasram was previously denied bail because the "State had a view that he was not playing open cards".

"He said his salary was R15 000, but the State managed to verify his rent and found that it is R14 700," Shuping said.

He added that the magistrate had found that it was in the best interests of justice to grant Vasram bail. 

23 Feb 11:57


Where are 'fugitive' Ajay Gupta and his brothers? 

As authorities search the length and breadth of South Africa for Ajay Gupta, speculation is rife on whether he has fled the country for good.  

News24 understands that the Hawks are still looking for Ajay, who is currently regarded as a fugitive, along with his two brothers Atul and Rajesh, albeit for different cases. 

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told News24:"We have reason to believe he (Ajay) is still in the country." 

He said Ajay was wanted for charges that are not related to the Vrede dairy farm case. 

Management at OR Tambo International Airport, however, confirmed to News24 that there are records of Ajay leaving the country. 

23 Feb 11:57


WATCH: Magashule on Vrede dairy farm: Law must run its course 

23 Feb 11:57


Seven Vrede dairy farm project accused released on bail 

As police hunt down Ajay Gupta, seven of the eight people arrested by the Hawks during raids at Gupta compounds this week were granted bail in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Thursday.

The Hawks have confirmed to News24 that Gupta is a fugitive from justice.

"We spoke to his lawyers because he was supposed to hand himself over, but that didn't [get] him. We regard him as a fugitive, because there is a warrant of arrest," Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

Mulaudzi said Gupta was facing a charge of corruption. 

23 Feb 11:57


Gupta linked five to face the music at the Bloemfontein Regional Court 

Five people arrested during Hawks raids on various Gupta compounds are to appear in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Thursday, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed.

The suspects were arrested in connection with investigations into the Free State Vrede dairy farm project, Mulaudzi said.

One Gupta brother and a business associate are among those arrested and more arrests are imminent, News24 understands.

City Press reported that that former Free State agriculture head Peter Thabethe was arrested in connection with his involvement in the failed dairy farm project. 

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