Accused in #VredeDairy case granted bail

By Andrew Moses Time of article published Feb 15, 2018

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Bloemfontein - Seven of the people arrested in connection with illegal financial transactions at the Vrede Dairy Project have been granted bail ranging from R10 000 to R200 000 by the Bloemfontein Regional Court.

The head of department in the Free State Agricultural Department Mbana Peter Thabethe, who is accused number one in the matter, together with chief financial officer Sylvia Seipate Dlamini and former general manager District Services in the department Dr Takisi Janki Masiteng were granted R10 000 bail.

Former Oakbay CEO Ashu Chawla, former Oakbay director Nazeem Howa, another former Oakbay director Varun Gupta and Tegeta Resources director Ronica Ragavan were each given bail of R200 000.

They were given reporting conditions at their nearest police stations and ordered surrender their passports.

However, accused number five Kamal Vasram was not granted bail as police still needed to veryfy his particulars. Vasram will appear in court again on Monday.

The eight are facing a host of charges including corruption, theft, fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and contravening the Public Finance Management Act.

The eight appeared before a packed courtroom under heavy police presence.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said they believe they have a strong case against the accused and are confident justice will be served.

"The prosecutor's who brought the matter to court are specialists in commercial crime cases. They would never have brought the matter to court if they were not ready. They are very meticulous. We are very confident with our case," said Mfaku.

The Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said more arrests were imminent without giving further details.

He Ajay Gupta had failed to hand himself over to the police as agreed and was now being considered a fugitive.

"His warrant of arrest is ready and we will be sending out teams to get him," he said soon after court.

The accused are:

1. Mbana Peter Thabethe
2. Sylvia Seipate Dlamini
3. Dr Takisi Janki Masiteng
4. Estina (Pvt) Ltd
5. Kamal Vasrun
6. Oakbay (Pvt) Ltd
7. Ashu Chawla
8. Nazeem Howa
9. Verun Gupta
10. Ronica Ragovan
11. Aerohaven (Pvt) Ltd

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