Luxury vehicles, immovable properties and bank accounts among some items listed in R250m Vrede restraint order

2018-04-16 20:47
A customs vehicle is parked near the Gupta compound in Saxonwold. (Thuli Manyathi, News24)

A customs vehicle is parked near the Gupta compound in Saxonwold. (Thuli Manyathi, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Luxury vehicles, immovable properties and bank accounts are some of the assets which are subject to provisional a restraint order which the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) obtained in the case against eight people accused of fraud and other charges in the multimillion-rand Estina dairy farm project.

The AFU obtained the order, which targets assets to the tune of more than R250m, in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein after the Hawks arrested the eight people.

They were arrested during raids in February, including at the Gupta compound in Saxonwold and their offices in Sandton.

They are Estina director Kamal Vasram, former directors at the Gupta's holding company Oakbay - Varun Gupta, Ronica Ragavan, Nazeem Howa and Ashu Chawla - and Free State officials Peter Thabethe, Sylvia Dlamini and Takisi Masiteng.

While the criminal case against them is pending, the AFU pounced and went after their assets.

READ: Guptas' Saxonwold compound raided to seize assets related to Vrede dairy farm case

A restraint order allows the AFU to preserve the assets in order to satisfy a later confiscation order in the event that they are convicted.

In terms of the order: "The respondents and any other person with knowledge of this order are hereby prohibited from dealing in any manner with the property except as required or prohibited by this order."

It was the AFU's argument that the respondents benefited from their alleged unlawful activity.

AFU financial investigator Nkosiphendule Mrandla said in court papers that he had access to the docket in the criminal case.

He submitted that, on the basis of the evidence, the respondents received and retained various amounts of money as a result of their alleged unlawful activities.

The order was granted on April 11.

Officials arrive at the Gupta compound in Saxonwold. (Thuli Manyathi, News24)

 

Search and seizure

In terms of the order, Hendrik Vorster Hattingh of the company Vesticraft, has been appointed curator and he will take control of the affected assets once letters of curatorship have been obtained in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

A return date has been set for May 24, when the respondents have to show cause why the provisional order should not be confirmed.

They have to file notice of their intention to oppose, if any, this week.

The vehicles that form part of the order include a Porche Cayenne, Range Rover, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, BMW and an Audi A8. There was also a long list of immovable properties.

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

An affidavit revealed that the Free State's agricultural department – which was then under the leadership of former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane – allegedly 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".

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.

READ: #GuptaLeaks: The Dubai Laundromat – How millions milked from Free State government paid for Sun City wedding

Read more on:    estina dairy farm  |  guptas

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.