Former Transnet Board member and business partner to Gupta associate Salim Essa, Iqbal Sharma, and three former senior Free State government officials appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on Thursday.They appeared on charges of procurement fraud involving R24 million, paid by the Free State Department of Agriculture (FSDoA) to Nulane Investment 204 (PTY) LTD, a company owned and controlled by Sharma.
From there the funds were diverted to Islandsite Investments 180 (Pty) Ltd (Islandsite), a company owned and controlled by the Gupta family.
Investigating Directorate Sindisiwe Seboka said the R24m was purportedly paid to Nulane to conduct a feasibility study for the Free State Province’s flagship Mohoma Mobung project, on the basis that Nulane had unique skills to perform the work. “Nulane Investments however had no employees on its books and in fact subcontracted Deloitte Ltd to produce the report, for which Deloitte was paid R1.5 million.”
Seboka said the bail application for two of the Accused will take place today and the bail application for two more will take place on Monday, 7 June 2021.
She said Investigating Directorate head, Adv Hermione Cronje, said the NPA is applying to Interpol to assist with the execution of arrest warrants in respect Atul Gupta and his wife, Chetali, Rajesh Gupta and his wife, Arti, Ankit Jain, former Nulane Investment Bank of Baroda account signatory, Ravindra Nath, director of Wone Management (Pty) Ltd, Ramesh Bhat and Jagdish Parekh, the directors of Pragat Investments (Pty) Ltd.