State granted postponement in #Estina dairy farmchain

Bloemfontein – The regional court in Bloemfontein granted the state a postponement on Tuesday in the Estina dairy farm.

The postponement was granted on the grounds that the State had provided sufficient reasons to justify postponement.

Magistrate Collin Nekosi, who handed the verdict, passed both the arguments of the State and those of the defense before deciding that the matter required further investigation.

Last week, the National Public Prosecutor (NPA) had requested postponement for three months because evidence was still being collected to strengthen their case.

Attorney Justice Bakamela told Nekosi that the case was postponed by trying to provide information for the United Arab Emirates and India.

He said the state did nothing for the past six months, but a lot of progress had been made.

Bakamela motivated for the delay that they had obtained 104 statements from witnesses in Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. And 310 bank statements have been obtained.

Lawyer Mike Hellens, who represented four of the accused, opposed the request of the state and said that the state had arrested its customers early, knowing that they had not gathered the right evidence to support their case.

All eight suspects were present in the courtroom when the verdict was pronounced.

This included Varun Gupta, a cousin of the Gupta brothers, CEO of Oakbay Ronica Ragavan. Ashu Chawla, former director of the Sahara, Estina director Kamal Vasram and former The New Age editor Nazeem Howa. Three Free State administrators, Peter Thabethe, Sylvia Dlamini and Takisi Masiteng were also charged.

The group was accused of a series of crimes including fraud, theft, conspiracy to commit fraud and theft. The charge relates to the notorious dairy farm in Estina, where millions of people destined for poor farmers were reportedly startled by the Gupta family.

They are all free on bail.

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