Estina trial adjourned, magistrate decides to make long-term postponement

The eight suspects in the Estina dairy farm will have to wait until Tuesday to find out whether the court of Bloemfontein will reject or grant the request of the state to postpone the case for another three to five months.

Varun Gupta, the nephew of the controversial Gupta brothers, CEO of Oakbay Ronica Ragavan, ex-Sahara executive Ashu Chawla, former TNA media executive Nazeem Howa, Estina director Kamal Vasram and three Free State provincial government officials – Peter Thabethe, Sylvia Dlamini and Takisi Masiteng – appeared in court on Friday.

They were bail in February.

They were arrested on charges of fraud, theft, conspiracy to commit fraud and theft, in violation of the Public Finance Management Act, in violation of the Companies Act and contrary to parts of the Prevention Act on Organized Crime in connection with the alleged theft of R250m linked to the Estina dairy farm project in Vrede.

READ: EXC LUSIVE: Gupta associates & # 39; advised & # 39; Magashule on dairy project Peace – judicial documents

Prosecutor Bakamela asked the court to postpone a postponement of three to six months for further investigation, to enable the completion of financial reports [19659003] Bakamela told the court that more than 300 bank statements were obtained and that he waited for information from authorities in Dubai and India, pending the conclusion of mutual legal assistance agreements.

In support of this, he presented an affidavit by the research officer of Hawks, who tried to outline the processes followed since the previous appearance in February, and a letter from the Ministry of Justice stating that it was in the process of completing MLA agreements with authorities in Dubai and India.

During interrogation of Magistrate Collin Nekosi, Bakamela made the effort to join a timeline for this process to be completed.

He said that the research was at an advanced stage. In contrast

Two defenders came up with motions to oppose the postponement request, led by lawyer Mike Hellens SC, who represents Chawla, Ragavan and Gupta.

Hellens seriously doubted the integrity of the NPAs in his long arguments against the postponement.

Legal representatives for the other accused echoed and supported his arguments. Hellens argued that it was outrageous for the state to seek further leeway to complete its investigation, in the light of the accused who had already been arrested.

A final cost list has yet to be drawn up and the towing of the case was severely detrimental to his clients and the other accused, Hellens filed.

Hellens asked the court to address the issue of role and scrap bail conditions, while the NPA and Hawks finalized their investigation.

Bakamela said he needed the consolation of three or five months more – but if the information from international authorities had been received before this date, he would approach the accused and the court to set a trial date.

Magistrate Nekosi said that he needed time to consider the documents and arguments.

warned the accused that their bail conditions were still applicable and ordered them to appear before the court on 21 August.

READ: NPA failed miserably in Vre de Dairy research – legal expert

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