NEWS
21/01/2018 08:36 SAST | Updated 21/01/2018 10:17 SAST

Guptas And Associates Skim 99 Percent Off R220-Million Farming Project

Only 1% of the money allocated to the Estina project in the Free State went to farming.

Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta, and Sahara director, Duduzane Zuma.
Gallo Images via Getty Images
Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta, and Sahara director, Duduzane Zuma.

Of the R220.2-million the Free State government transferred to the Estina dairy project in Vrede in the Free State, only 1% was spent on actual farming. Most of the remaining money went to individuals and entities associated with the Guptas.

This is according to a report by City Press on Sunday, which quoted a preservation order granted to the National Prosecuting Authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit this week against Gupta-linked companies.

The application reportedly cites Atul Gupta in his personal capacity as having received millions of rands stolen from government and shows that President Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane, was a director of at least one of the Gupta companies involved in the looting.

City Press reported that the unit's application also exposes Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who at the time was the Free State MEC for agriculture, as having identified the land for the dairy farm outside Vrede "in a remote area ... specifically chosen in avoid detection".

The papers also reportedly expose how the project, entrusted to Gupta-owned company Estina, was nothing but a vehicle for looting disguised under the department's Zero Hunger Programme.

The assets will now be placed under the curatorship of Eugene Nel.

Last year, AmaBhungane and Scorpio reported that emails and documents leaked from within the Gupta enterprise provided evidence that the Guptas allegedly channeled about R84-million from the project to a company they controlled in the United Arab Emirates.

After Zwane allegedly drove the provincial government to adopt the project in June 2012, the Guptas allegedly took him and his gospel choir on an all-expenses-paid tour to India.