At least one Gupta brother and a family associate have reportedly been arrested in an early morning raid by the Hawks at their Saxonwold compound, according to various media sources, reporting live from the neighbourhood.
Reports emerged of the raid when roads entering and leaving the surrounding streets were blocked off by the Hawks’ vehicles.
However, reporters on the ground said that at least two individuals were arrested on the scene, one of which was a Gupta brother. Other reports claimed that other members of the family were negotiating to hand themselves over.
According to eNCA, sources have said that the raid is related to the Vrede dairy project in the Free State, where the Guptas have been accused of allegedly siphoning R220 million meant to benefit poor farmers.
Last month, the NPA’s asset forfeiture unit (AFU) signed off on a preservation order related to the farm project, making it clear that the scandal 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.
Of the R220 million budgeted for the project, only 1% – about R2.4 million – went into the actual farm project. The rest ended up in the hands of the Guptas and their associates.
In an 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.”
The Hawks have confirmed the operation is taking place, but has not given any further details, saying that a statement would come later.