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Guptas asset seizure ruling: Evidence revealed ‘many shortcomings’

The court in Bloemfontein set aside the R250 million preservation order the Asset Forfeiture Unit had obtained against several Gupta companies, their directors and three Free State government employees.

A screengrab of National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams addressing MPs about the Estina Dairy Farm probe. Picture: YouTube.

PRETORIA - The State has been dealt a significant blow in its state capture case against the Guptas with the High Court finding there are no reasonable grounds to believe the accused in the Estina Dairy Farm investigation will be convicted.

The court in Bloemfontein set aside the R250 million preservation order the Asset Forfeiture Unit had obtained against several Gupta companies, their directors and three Free State government employees.

The State had seized numerous properties, luxury cars as well as several aircraft.

The High Court found that the evidence presented by prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams revealed many shortcomings which were not explained.

The court held that the State had failed to show how the movement of funds into and out of the Gupta-linked accounts could possibly be the proceeds of criminal activities.

The judge ruled that on the evidence presented, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the accused may be successfully convicted.

The court further expressed its displeasure at the State for not fully disclosing the details of an earlier ruling, which also found a lack of evidence to support a preservation order.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)