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R24.9-million procurement fraud case postponed

The Free State High Court has postponed the Nulane Investments matter to September 27 to hear an interlocutory application brought by three of the accused in the matter.

In a statement, Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said Dinesh Patel, Islandsite Investment, represented by Ronica Ragavan, and Ronica Ragavan in her personal capacity have indicated they want to bring an interlocutory application before their case goes on trial next year.

Patel also notified the court that he will bring an application to have his bail conditions relaxed.

The court further postponed the matter against all the accused to November 3 for a case management session.

Trial in this matter is scheduled for next year from January 23 to March 3.

The case relates to procurement fraud involving R24.9 million paid between November 2011 and April 2012 by the provincial agriculture department to Nulane Investments 204 (Pty) Ltd.

It is the state’s case that the funds were then diverted to Islandsite Investments 180 (Pty) Ltd, a company owned and controlled by the Gupta family.

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 the company had unique skills to perform the work.

The other accused are former head of rural development in the the Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mbana Peter Thabethe, former head of the provincial agriculture department, Limakatso Moorosi, and former chief financial officer for the department, Seipati Dhlamini, alongside Nulane owner Iqbal Sharma.

Patel is a former employee of Nulane while Ragavan, a Gupta associate, handled the finances.

The group is charged together with two companies, Nulane Investments and Islandsite Investments. – Staff Reporter

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