NPA ready to prosecute culprits in controversial Estina dairy farm project - reports

The Estina dairy farm turned out to be a cash cow for a few select individuals. (Conrad Bornman, Netwerk24, file)
The Estina dairy farm turned out to be a cash cow for a few select individuals. (Conrad Bornman, Netwerk24, file)

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is ready to prosecute those implicated in the controversial Gupta-linked Estina dairy farm project, according to media reports.

The project in Vrede, the Free State, was intended to see 100 black emerging farmers receive five cows each as part of an empowerment scheme.

Gifted to Estina in 2013 under a free 99-year lease by the provincial Department of Agriculture, the farm was one of the most controversial transactions between the Guptas and a government entity, News24 earlier reported.

READ: Estina dairy farm project an example of organised robbery, Peter Hain tells Zondo commission

According to IOL, National Director of Public Prosecutions advocate Shamila Batohi and NPA investigative directorate head advocate Hermione Cronje announced on Monday some state capture-related cases would be reinstated as Cronje's unit had gathered enough evidence.

"We are waiting for the last piece of evidence from the United Arab Emirates before we can enrol the case in court," Cronje said at a round table discussion with the media at the NPA's headquarters in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Batohi also revealed she would declassify documents that could ultimately lead to the prosecution of former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

According to Business Day, she revealed that national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole had written to her last week saying he had agreed to declassify "a whole range of documents that we need".

In September, the commission of inquiry into state capture, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, heard how Mdluli allegedly looted the secret service account (SSA) within crime intelligence.

Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roelofse revealed to the commission how Mdluli had spent money from the account for security upgrades, overseas trips and various vehicles.

ALSO READ: Richard Mdluli allegedly looted Crime Intelligence secret service account, state capture inquiry hears

Mdluli faced charges of fraud, theft and corruption for allegedly looting the crime intelligence slush fund, however, the charges were later withdrawn in 2011.

Roelofse told the commission that this decision "did not make any sense", saying Mdluli had failed to co-operate with officers while he was under investigation for fraud and corruption relating to the SSA, News24 reported.

ALSO READ: Richard Mdluli 'frustrated' investigations into abuse of secret service account

Compiled by Canny Maphanga

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