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High Court sets aside Guptas' R250m restraining order

The Asset Forfeiture Unit secured the restraining order last month but without the parties having an opportunity to oppose it.

FILE: Police and Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) officials raid the Gupta compound for assets to the value of R250 million. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

PRETORIA - The High Court in Bloemfontein has set aside the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU)’s R250 million restraining order obtained against several Gupta companies and their directors as well as Free State government employees.

The parties are all co-accused in the Estina dairy farm case and are alleged to have siphoned off government funds intended for poor farmers into Gupta accounts.

AFU secured the restraining order last month but without the parties having an opportunity to oppose it.

The high court considered the test for granting a restraining order and only needed to establish whether the available evidence against the parties could reasonably support a prosecution.

The court, however, found that the evidence relied on by prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams in his application for the order showed many shortcomings which have not been explained.

It further found there was uncertainty as to the exact source of the funds being moved between the various bank accounts.

The court ruled there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the parties may be convicted of the offences as alleged and that a successful confiscation order would follow.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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