Gupta associates arrested for R37.7 million fraud

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The Pretoria Regional Court granted bail of R10 000 each to two associates of the Gupta brothers, Kamal Vasram and Saliesh Indurjeeth who are directly linked to the failed Estina project. The duo was arrested last night and appeared in court on Tuesday.

NPA ID National Spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said one of the suspects was the sole director of Estina during the commission of the alleged offences. “The arrest follows an investigation by SARS and the NPA’s Investigating Directorate (ID) into the affairs of the Estina Dairy Project. The investigation established that Estina submitted customs clearance documents (SAD 500 and invoice), in support of a VAT refund claim.”

Seboka added that the customs declaration was then scrutinised and placed under the proverbial magnifying glass, whereupon the declared value of over R37,7 million for a so-called “NEW” pasteurisation plant was suspected to be excessively high. 

“The suspected overpriced pasteurising plant, which was imported from India, was rather invoiced to Estina by Gateway Limited in the United Arab Emirates. Evidence that is already in the public domain suggests that Gateway was used and controlled by the Guptas, as a conduit to launder money and to extract funds from South Africa.”

She further said this observation led to a joint investigation between SARS and the ID, in the spirit of co-operative governance and collaboration, as provided for in terms of section 41 of the Constitution of South Africa.

The state further alleges that the overstated or inflated value was intentionally and unlawfully used by Estina and its sole director to launder funds from South Africa to the prejudice of the taxpaying public in general.

The matter is postponed to 11 February 2022.

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