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Court dismisses request for more particulars in Nulane case

The Free State High Court has dismissed an application brought by three of the accused in the R25-million Nulane Investment corruption case.

Dinesh Patel and Ronica Ragavan, together with Island Investments 180 (Pty) Ltd, filed a special entry application arguing that the information presented by the state was too little for them to adequately prepare for trial.

The trial is set for January 23 to March 3 next year.

Initially, the accused unsuccessfully brought an application to compel the state to furnish them with further and clear particulars in order to prepare for their criminal trial.

A special entry application is initiated when the accused feel court proceedings may potentially infringe on the rights to a fair trial.

The other accused in the matter include former Free State head of department for rural development, Mbana Peter Thabethe; former head of the Free State agriculture department, Limakatso Moorosi, alongside the same department’s former chief finance officer Seipati Dhlamini; Nulane Investments 204 (Pty) Ltd owner Iqbal Meer Sharma and Nulane Investments.

The eight face charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering.

The former government officials face a further charge of contravening the Public Finance Management Act.

It is the state’s case that the accused acted in concert to divert funds earmarked for rural development in the Free State.

A total of R24.9-million was paid between November 2011 and April 2012 by the Free State Department of Agriculture to Nulane Investments to conduct a feasibility study for the Free State province’s flagship project, Mohoma Mobung.

This was on the basis that Nulane had unique skills to perform the work.

However, no significant work was done and the funds were allegedly diverted to Islandsite Investments. – Staff Reporter

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