Iqbal Sharma, a former Transient board member with close ties to the notorious Gupta family will be in court on Friday, to argue against the State’s attempt to withhold his multimillion-rand asset management portfolio.
Iqbal Sharma: State capture crony in the can for fraud
Sharma in his personal capacity, his company Nulane Investments, as well as Islandsite Investments, a shell company owned by Atul and Rajesh Gupta, and their wives, Chetali and Arti Gupta, are listed as respondents in a restraining order hearing tabled before the Bloemfontein High Court.
In a statement, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed the State will be arguing for a permanent ruling on a restraining order granted in June 2021, which effectively granted the Independent Directorate (ID) passage to withhold Sharma and the Gupta’s assets pending the outcome of the ongoing fraud and money laundering case.
Per Daily Maverick, Sharma was arrested in June 2021 for his alleged involvement in a R24.9 million feasibility study in the Free State jurisdiction which ultimately became the precursor to the infamous Estina dairy farm scandal that cost the taxpayer more than R288 million.
He and 17 other suspects, including his brother-in-law Dinesh Patel, and ex-Free State public officials Peter Thabethe, Seipati Sylvia Dhlamini and Limakatso Moorosi are charged with fraud, money laundering and contravening the Public Finance Management Act.
Sharma is currently out on bail and, in a bid to squeeze the controversial business man thin of options in the build-up to his trial, the State looks to receive a permanent grant from the Bloemfontein High Court to withhold his asset portfolio, which includes:
- his Sandton home valued at R12 million;
- moveable property valued at R500 000; and
- a sectional title home in Sandton valued at R1.3 million.
The State will also seek approval to withhold property linked to the Guptas, which includes:
- a Constantia mansion valued at R21 million; and
- a R12 million home in Saxonworld.
The court proceedings had not commenced at the time this article was published.