NPA targets Guptas for brazen looting of R220 million: report

The NPA’s asset forfeiture unit (AFU) has signed off on another preservation order – this time targeting the Gupta brothers specifically, over their involvement with the R220 million Free State farming project that never materialised.

In court papers filed this weekend, the NPA has for the first time directly named the Gupta family and close business associates like Duduzane Zuma and Salim Essa as direct beneficiaries of fraudulent and corrupt payments.

The damning submissions make it clear that the doomed Free State farm project, which cost the local government over R220 million, is being viewed as a blatant extraction and money laundering scheme, where the government was misdirected – but the culprits were aided by senior government officials.

According to a report by the City Press, current mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane is also directly implicated.

The paper broke down who benefitted from the scheme, as recorded in the documents, saying that of the R220 million, only 1% – about R2.4 million – went into the actual farm project.

The rest was split as follows, in what the AFU said was a blatant vehicle for looting:

  • R10 million to Atul Gupta;
  • R30 million to Bank of Baroda
  • R24.5 million to Oakbay Investments;
  • R21.3 million to Aerohaven Trading, a known Gupta company;
  • R16.5 million to Vargafield, the Dubai-based company;
  • R15 million to VRLS investments, of which Essa was appointed director in 2014;
  • R6 million to Westdawn Investments, of which Duduzane Zuma and youngest Gupta brother Tony were directors at the time;
  • R6 million to Linkway Trading, the company which paid for the R30 million Gupta wedding;
  • R6 million to Annex Distribution, with Gupta directors.; and
  • R5 million to Islandsite Investments, with Gupta directors.

In his affidavit to the court, AFU head Knorx Molelle said:

“I submit the entire project was a mere facade right from the outset that was aimed at providing a veil of legitimacy to what was evidently a scheme designed to defraud and steal monies from the department.”

You can read the full report in the City Press for Sunday 21 January 2018

Read: State moves to seize R1.6 billion in Gupta-linked assets: report

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NPA targets Guptas for brazen looting of R220 million: report