Shamila Batohi is the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - The DA has called on NPA boss Shamila Batohi to reinstate the charges against Gupta associates linked to the Estina dairy farm fraud case following new revelations.

Netwerk24 reports that the Free State Department of Agriculture paid over R330 million to Estina for what was meant to be a dairy farm upliftment scheme. 

The bank statements belonging to Estina have shown that the company was paid millions of rands which was transferred to an Indian based Bank of Baroda account. 

As soon as the money was deposited into Estina's account meant for the scheme, it was immediately deposited into various other accounts. 

The Vrede Dairy Farm project was established by the Free State government to help uplift underprivileged farmers in the area.

The project was allocated over R220 million and only R2 million was spent on the farm. None of the people who were destined to benefit received anything from the project.

The tender for the project was awarded to a company called Estina, which has links to the Gupta family. The company was awarded the tender even though it had no history of running similar projects.

The Netwerk24 report shows that the payments to Estina happened over a period of two years between July 2014 and April 2016. Only a few thousand rands was spent on the farm and its upkeep. 

The black farmers who were meant to benefit from the scheme did not do so. 

The national prosecuting authority (NPA) had tried prosecuting members of the Gupta family and associates for the project but the case was withdrawn earlier this year. 

The DA believes the new revelations should be sufficient for the NPA to reopen its case. 

“The DA will be writing to the NDPP, to make this plea. The rule of law must stand so that those who have stolen from our people are held fully accountable. In light of insufficient evidence, the NPA had provisionally withdrawn the charges of theft, fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, among other charges, levelled against the Gupta family and their business associates,” said the party’s Patricia Kopane. 

“The DA trusts that Adv. Batohi will prove her independence and transparency in this matter by reinstating these charges which have contravened the Public Finance Management Act, contravened the Companies Act and contravened sections of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act,” she said.

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