The R280 million Estina Dairy fraud and corruption case involving former minerals and resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane has been set down for trial a year from now.
National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate spokesperson, Sindisiwe Seboka, said the matter was heard in the Bloemfontein High Court on Tuesday.
“The trial has set down from August 5, 2024 until September 13, 2024.”
Zwane and his co-accused stand charged with contravening the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), fraud, corruption, and money laundering.
The charges stem from the alleged looting of the Free State Department of Agriculture through a company called Estina.
It was a public-private partnership that was meant to benefit local farmers through a BEE project, but no funds were paid to them, and instead the cash ended up in India.
"It’s alleged that Estina received R280 million from July 2012 to April 2014.
"Investigations also revealed that no proper tender procedures were followed with regards to the decision to fund the proposed Vrede Dairy Project.
"Estina did not honour its obligations in terms of the agreement, as only the department paid its contribution into the bank accounts held by Estina," said Seboka.
According to the Investigating Directorate, former Free State head of the Department for Rural Development, Peter Thabethe, former chief financial officer, Seipati Dhlamini, former chief director of district services, Takisi Masiteng, and Estina director, Kamal Vasram, were added to the case, as well as eight companies.