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FS govt paid Estina dairy project long before it did any work, inquiry told

Treasury's former director-general in the province Anna Susanna Fourie was on the stand on Monday recalling the events surrounding the Estina scandal.

 YouTube screengrab of Treasury’s former deputy director-general in the Free State, Anna Sussana Fourie, giving evidence at the state capture inquiry on 12 August 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - The state capture inquiry has heard how the Free State government started paying the Estina dairy project large sums of money long before it could ever have done any work.

Treasury's former director-general in the province Anna Susanna Fourie was on the stand on Monday recalling the events surrounding the Estina scandal.

The project was meant to help emerging farmers to grow their businesses but it became a vehicle to channel more than R200 million to companies with links to the Guptas.

Fourie said that in June 2012, Treasury's CEO Humphrey Kgomongwe instructed her to process a payment of R30 million for the Agriculture Department.

She requested supporting documents from the CFO of the department but all she received was a contract that had been signed a month earlier.

"If they were aware of this arrangement with Estina, why didn't they make payment through their own system, on time?"

She said Kgomongwe told her to make her assessment and asked the provincial revenue fund if the funds were available.

"She came back with a report indicating there was less than R6 million in the provincial revenue fund bank account. It must now be clear to her that there is no possibility that Treasury can R30 million if they only have less then R6 million."

Fourie said that after she didn't make the payment, she was no longer involved in the matter until the project was abandoned in 2014.

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