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Judgment reserved in Sharma’s bail application

Staff Reporter

The Free State High Court has reserved judgment in a bail application brought by former Transnet board member and Gupta family ‘associate’ Iqbal Sharma.

The matter has been set down for July 14, when the judgment will be delivered.

Sharma took his bail bid to the High Court today after the Bloemfontein Regional Court dismissed his application last month saying he was a flight risk.

The state told court that Sharma had failed to disclose that he had transferred R264 459 241 to Issar Global based in the United Arab Emirates between 22 August 2016 and 8 December 2016.

This, it said, could be an indication that he could be planning to flee the country as his interests abroad are much higher than those in South Africa.

According to the state, Sharma’s South African assets account for 10 percent of his total assets.

Sharma is one of the 17 accused persons and companies who face charges of defrauding the Free State agriculture department of R25 million in 2011.

Four of his co-accused who are currently in South Africa were granted bail last month.

They are former Free State Agriculture and Rural Development head, Mbana Peter Thabethe; his predecessor Limakatso Moorosi; the department’s former chief financial officer Seipati Sylvia Dhlamini and Sharma’s brother-in-law Dinesh Patel.

The matter relates to allegations of fraud in connection with a R25 million feasibility study contract that was irregularly granted to Nulane Investment 204 (Pty) Ltd, a company owned and controlled by Sharma, who is also a former Transnet board member.

The company was required to provide a report to the department within seven months.

Nulane, however, subcontracted the work to Deloitte Consulting (Pty) Ltd for R1.5 million.

It then subcontracted the work already completed by Deloitte to Gateway Limited and paid the latter over R19 million.

The accused face charges of fraud and money laundering.

The former government officials are also charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

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