JOHANNESBURG – The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has seized the Gupta-linked Estina diary farm in Vrede in the Free State in a bid to recoup up to R1.6-billion in looted funds.
The NPA said Atul Gupta's personal bank account will also be frozen. It said he had received proceeds of crime in cash.
Damning statements from AFU on the #Gupta-linked Estina dairy project - meant to empower black farmers.— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) January 20, 2018
There was "no value for money for the Dept" - or the intended beneficiaries.
This project effectively formed part of a criminal scheme. pic.twitter.com/Q0DfPfPCWI
The NPA's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) was granted an urgent preservation order to stop money from being moved offshore.
The City Press on Sunday reported that court documents filed by the AFU showed that of the R220.2-million transferred by the Free State government for the agricultural project, only one percent of it – R2.45-million – was spent on actual farming.
The rest of the funds went to individuals and entities associated with the Guptas.
The papers reveal how Gupta entities conspired with politicians to siphon off the money.
The unit’s application exposes how then-Free State agriculture MEC Mosebenzi Zwane – now the Minister of Mineral Resources – identified the land for the dairy farm in the remote area outside Vrede “specifically chosen to avoid detection”.
President Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane, is also implicated in the matter, as he is the director of at least one of the Gupta companies involved.
Last year, during the ANC policy conference, eNCA's Xoli Mngambi asked Zwane about his involvement in the diary project, which the minister insisted was established to empower black farmers in the Free State.
*Watch a video of the interview above
The seizure of the farm comes after the AFU announced it was taking legal action against Trillian and McKinsey, two companies accused of involvement in state capture related to Eskom contracts.