12/07/2017 17:26 SAST | Updated 12/07/2017 17:26 SAST

Maimane Promises Justice For Victims Of Gupta, ANC-Linked Vrede Dairy Farm 'Lie'

Mmusi Maimane.
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Mmusi Maimane.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane visited Vrede in the Free State on Wednesday, where he promised residents that he would help them find justice for being excluded from a Gupta-linked dairy farm initiative.

He is referring the controversial dairy farm project linked to the Guptas to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as an intergovernmental task force and other corruption watchdogs, to investigate suspicions of money laundering.

The DA is also looking at whether a criminal case can be opened against the Guptas in the United Arab Emirates.

Eighty beneficiaries from Vrede were promised a stake in the Vrede Dairy Farm initiative which was established in 2013 by the Free State government and Gupta controlled company Estina.

However, these residents never received what they were promised with "some of the beneficiaries having reported to have sold off their own livestock in anticipation of their participation in the project, but have never received any dairy cows", according to Maimane.

The Democratic Alliance has filed a complaint with the Public Protector against the Guptas and then Free State MEC of Agriculture, Mosebenzi Zwane, for not following through with the initiative.

An investigation by AmaBhungane and Scorpio earlier this month alleged that R84 million was sucked to a Gupta offshore company after the Free State government paid R114-million to a contractor, and Mosebenzi Zwane went on a Gupta-sponsored India jaunt after the provincial agriculture department, where he was MEC, approved the project.

Maimane says a report will be released by the Public Protector's office in the next 48 hours. He says he will ensure that the recommendations are implemented without delay so that those who have stolen from the community can be held accountable.

According to Maimane: "Gupta-controlled Estina sits with R184 million of public money while the beneficiaries are left penniless. The only beneficiaries have been the Guptas and their ANC stooges."

In addition to this ,DA Shadow Minister of Finance David Maynier laid criminal charges against Mosebenzi Zwane, the Gupta's, Ronica Ragavan and Lamal Vasram last week.

The party has laid charges of laundering, racketeering and assisting another to benefit from the proceeds of unlawful activities, among other charges.

Maimane also plans on writing to international corruption watchdogs tasked with investigating cross border money laundering, including the Financial Action Task Force, the Financial Intelligence Centre, and the IMF's Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Unit, requesting that they launching investigations into this matter.