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Vrede dairy farm fraud accused expected back in court

The five Gupta associates and three Free State government officials made their first court appearance in February.

FILE: The suspects in the Vrede dairy farm project case appear in the Bloemfontein magistrates court on 15 February 2018. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN

PRETORIA - The eight accused in the Vrede dairy farm fraud and corruption case are due back in the Bloemfontein magistrates court on Friday.

The five Gupta associates and three Free State government officials made their first court appearance in February and were released on bail between R10,000 and R200,000.

In February, the State told the court it had a strong case, but it’s unclear if it will be ready to set a date for the matter to go to trial.

The State suffered a blow in May when the Gupta-linked companies successfully challenged a R250,000 restraint order.

The court found that on the evidence presented, there were no reasonable grounds to suspect the companies or the accused received benefits through the farm deal.

If the State is not ready to proceed to trial, the legal team for the accused may apply to have the matter struck from the roll.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)