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Did Estina have its own money to invest in the Vrede dairy project?

The company's books show that it didn't have any money before the Free State province paid its first R30 million, but Peter Thabethe has told the state capture commission that sometimes the company used its own money.

A screengrab shows Peter Thabethe at the state capture inquiry on 20 August 2019.

JOHANNESBURG – Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo said he wants to know if Estina had its own money to invest in the Vrede dairy project, or if it borrowed money with the project as a guarantee.

The company's books show that it didn't have any money before the Free State province paid its first R30 million, but former Free State agriculture head of department (HoD) Peter Thabethe has now told the state capture commission that sometimes the company used its own money.

Thabethe is expected to return to the commission on a date to be announced.

The financial irregularities at the Vrede dairy farm project have featured prominently at the inquiry this week.

The initial agreement with the Free State was that Estina would also invest R200-million, but company's books say the it had a zero balance.

“Is there any reason to take that to mean anything other than that there was no money”, asked Zondo.

It was then explained to the deputy chief justice that Thabethe’s understanding was that Estina would not mix its money with money allocated to projects.”

Justice Zondo told the former HoD that if Estina borrowed money with the project as a guarantee that still wouldn't be Estina money.