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NPA: 'Move to withdraw Estina charges due to circumstances beyond our control'

The NPA’s Phaladi Shuping says prosecutors will consider re-enrolling the matter once the docket is complete.

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 National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has rejected suggestions that it does not have a strong case in the Estina dairy farm matter, saying the decision to provisionally withdraw the case was due to circumstances out of their control.

It emerged on Wednesday that the State will withdraw the case when the seven accused appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court next week.

The accused include Varun Gupta, former Oakbay chief executive Nazeem Howa and former Sahara chief executive Ashu Chawla as well as three Free State government officials.

Despite the Hawks telling Parliament several months ago that the farm case was at an advanced stage, it’s simply not ready to go to trial.

The NPA’s Phaladi Shuping says they are in talks with their counterparts in Dubai.

“The information that’s stalling the whole matter is information that’s not within our jurisdiction. We want to go there through the normal route of getting information, we don’t want to bypass any process.

“And then once we decided to prosecute, we have a challenge where some of the information is inadmissible.”

He says prosecutors will consider re-enrolling the matter once the docket is complete.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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