High-profile businessman, 3 ex-FS gov staff arrested for Vrede farm corruption

The group were arrested in the Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga on Wednesday.

FILE: Picture: SAPS.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)’s Investigating Directorate said a high-profile businessman and three former Free State Department of Agriculture officials had been arrested and would appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The group were arrested in the Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga on Wednesday.

The Free State project that Gupta associates and the Department of Agriculture worked on was the Vrede Dairy Farm.

However, the directorate is still to give further details.

The Free State Department of Agriculture signed an agreement with Gupta owned Estina to spend R114 million every year for three years for the Vrede Dairy Farm.

Estina had promised to invest R228 million that never came.

But then-MEC Mosebenzi Zwane pressured officials to pay R30 million and redirect another R84 million from other projects. The farmers never benefited.

The NPA has rounded up four suspects working with the Hawks and investigators say the arrest of a fifth suspect was imminent.

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