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Staff Reporter

Islandsite Investments 180 (Pty) Ltd, a company owned by the Gupta family, has been added to the R24.9 million Nulane Investment feasibility study matter as accused number seven.

However, Ronica Ragavan, a co-director in the company who was also set to be added to the case today, failed to appear before the Bloemfontein Regional Court as a representative of the company citing medical reasons. 

Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said as per court procedure, a warrant of arrest was immediately issued unless she fails to appear at the next sitting without giving reason. 

“A warrant for her arrest has been issued but stayed by the court,” said Seboka soon after the matter was adjourned.

Ragavan and the other six accused are expected to return to court on October 8.  

The other accused in the case are Nulane Investment 204 (Pty) Ltd owner Iqbal Sharma, who is also a former Transnet board member; Nulane Investment employee Dinesh Patel, former Free State head of Department for Rural Development, Mbana Peter Thabethe; former head of the provincial agriculture department Limakatso Moorosi and the department’s former chief financial officer Seipati Dhlamini face charges of fraud and money laundering. The former government officials are also charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

All the accused are currently out on bail. 

The group is charged together with two companies, Nulane Investment and Islandsite Investments. 

The case relates to procurement fraud involving R24.9 million, paid between November 2011 and April 2012 by the Free State Department of Agriculture to Nulane Investment. From there the funds were diverted to Islandsite Investments. 

The R24.9m 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.  

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 R1.5m. 

But in a suspected case of money laundering, Nulane further subcontracted UAE-based Gateway Limited to do the work already completed by Deloitte to Gateway Limited and paid them over R19m. 

Nulane allegedly transferred millions of rands to several Gupta companies which are now under the radar of South African authorities, Pragat Investments (Pty) Ltd. 

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