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Restraint order against Gupta-linked companies to stay

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Staff Reporter

The Free State High Court has ordered that the unlimited restraint order against the controversial Gupta family, their alleged associate Iqbal Sharma and their companies be extended to March next year.

According to a statement from the Investigating Directorate (ID), the court ruled that the order against Sharma, his two companies Nulane Investments 204 (Pty) Ltd and Issar Global Limited, as well as Islandsite Investments 180 (Pty) Ltd owned by Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their wives, Chetali and Arti, will remain in place until March 16, 2022.

“The provisional restraint order has been extended . . . by agreement between the parties,” said ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka in the statement released on Thursday.

The unlimited restraint order follows a procurement fraud case involving R24.9 million, paid between November 2011 and April 2012 by the Free State Department of Agriculture to Nulane Investments.

From there the funds were said to have been diverted to Islandsite Investments through a series of alleged illegal transactions before being paid into other company accounts.

According to Seboka, Islandsite director Ronica Ragavan filed an affidavit purportedly as the duly authorised representative of the company, opposing the confirmation of the restraint order against Islandsite in July.

“On 11 August (Judge President) Cagney Musi ruled that the company is under business rescue and thus the business rescue practitioners Kurt Knoop and Johan Klopper, not the directors, are the parties with the legal standing to represent Islandsite in the restraint proceedings,” she said.

“The business rescue practitioners . . . filed a notice of intention to oppose the confirmation of the restraint order in October and an answering affidavit on 1 November . . .”

Sharma, his wife Tarina and their company, Issar Global, have filed a joint notice of opposition to the restraint order but have not yet filed any affidavits in the matter.

According to the state, the R24.9 million 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.

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

But in a suspected case of money laundering, Nulane further subcontracted UAE-based Gateway Limited to do the work already completed by Deloitte – and paid Gateway over R19 million. 

Nulane allegedly transferred millions of rands to several Gupta-owned companies.

The other accused in the case are: Nulane employee Dinesh Patel; former Free State head of rural development, Mbana Peter Thabethe; former head of the provincial agriculture department Limakatso Moorosi; and the department’s former chief financial officer Seipati Sylvia Dhlamini.

They face charges of fraud and money laundering.

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

All the accused are out on bail.

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Two Free State women allegedly killed by ‘druggie’ sons

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SHOCKING MURDER . . . A 65-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed with a sharp object by her 28-year-old son after she failed to give him money to buy drugs

Two women from Mangaung have allegedly been attacked and killed in two separate incidents by their own sons believed to be using drugs.

In the latest incident which happened in Kagisanong along Masike Street at the weekend, a 65-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed with a sharp object by her 28-year-old son after she failed to give him money to buy drugs.

Police spokesperson for Mangaung Metro Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane said in the woman died on the scene from the stab wounds.

“The victim had visible multiple stab wounds on the head and body,” he said, adding the matter was reported by the brother to the deceased, who was also attacked by the suspect who is now in police custody.

Covane said the complainant informed the police that the suspect is believed to be using drugs and had asked his now deceased mother for money to buy drugs but she told him that she didn’t have money.

“The suspect got angry, went out of the house, came back with a piece of iron and stabbed the deceased with it several times,” he explained.

“When he was done, he turned to the complainant and also stabbed him on the chest.”

Covane said the uncle survived the attack but the daring suspect locked them inside the house and had to wait until Friday morning to get help.

The suspect was later traced and arrested by the police.
He is expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court this Monday facing charges of murder and attempted murder.

In a similar case, a 42-year-old man will be applying for bail at the Botshabelo Magistrates Court on the same day after allegedly strangling to death his 71-year-old mother last Sunday, August 7, 2022 in the E-Section, Botshabelo.

The suspect is also said to history of substance abuse.

Free State acting provincial police commissioner, Major General Modise, condemned the killing of the two elderly women. – Staff Reporter

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Magashule loses ConCourt bid to reverse ANC suspension

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APPLICATION DISMISSED . . . The Constitutional Court says Ace Magashule has no prospects of successfully appealing his suspension as ANC secretary-general

Former Free State premier Ace Magashule has lost his latest court bid to have his suspension as ANC secretary-general lifted.

He had approached the Constitutional Court seeking to have his temporary ousting from Luthuli House reversed.

In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, the apex court said Magashule had no prospects of successfully appealing his suspension.

“The Constitutional Court has considered the application for condonation and the application for leave to appeal. It has concluded that, although there are no reasonable prospects of success on the merits of the application for leave to appeal, the delay in bringing the application for leave to appeal is minimal,” the court said.

Magashule first approached the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to challenge his suspension, but the matter was dismissed with costs.

He subsequently approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which dismissed the application in January 2022, prompting him to take up his case with the Constitutional Court.

Magashule was suspended from the ANC in May 2021 because of the party’s step-aside rule.

The rule requires ANC members facing criminal charges to step aside while their court cases are under way.

Magashule is facing corruption charges linked to the Free State asbestos corruption scandal. – Staff Reporter

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Municipal manager facing tender fraud charges granted bail

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THE ACCUSED . . . Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha is out on bail

Maluti-a-Phofung municipal manager Futhuli Patrick Mothamaha, 49, was on Friday released on a bail of R500 000 by the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrates Court after he was arrested by The Hawks for fraud, corruption and Contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The state alleges that he allegedly awarded a contract of R58 million to Kill Crime Security Company in 2020 without following proper procurement processes.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said Mothamaha allegedly signed a service level agreement on May 19, 2020, appointing the company to render security services to the municipality for a period of three months without following procurement processes.

“The municipality continued to pay Kill Crime Security Company for almost two years without a contract,” said Shuping.

He said Mothamaha was supposed to appear with his co-accused, father and daughter who are the owners of Kill Crime Security, Thabiso, 55, and Dimakatso Sekhosana, 29, on Monday after they were instructed by The Hawks to hand themselves over on Sunday, but he failed to do so.

The Sekhosanas appeared on Monday facing similar charges and were released on bail of R150 000 each.

Part of Mothamaha’s bail conditions are that he must not enter the offices of the municipality, not interfere with the investigations nor intimidate witnesses.

The case was postponed to September 30 for further investigations. – Staff Reporter

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