NPA assessing Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma's flight risk as bail postponed

The NPA wanted the court to see what assets Sharma owned, both in South Africa and abroad, before it decides if he was a flight risk.

FILE: National Prosecuting Authority offices in Pretoria. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gupta lieutenant, Iqbal Sharma, is waking up to a fifth morning behind bars after his bail application was postponed on Monday.

Sharma and three others were arrested last week and while his co-accused have all been granted bail of R10,000, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is taking its time dealing with his bail bid.

The NPA wanted the court to see what assets Sharma owned, both in South Africa and abroad, before it decides if he was a flight risk.

The State has seized assets belonging to Sharma, including his two Sandton houses worth R12 million and R1.3 million.

While those assets remain in the custody of the court, lobby group Outa said that Sharma still had access not only to vast amounts of money from the Gupta enterprise but also documents from Home Affairs.

Sharma was a board member of Transnet when the SOE made questionable decisions that benefited the Gupta enterprise.

Sharma, former Free State Agriculture Department HOD, Peter Thabethe and officials, Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dlamini, were charged with fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

The fifth suspect, Sharma’s brother-in-law, Dinesh Patel, will appear next week due to health reasons.

The group forms part of 15 suspects who are all expected to be charged in the days and weeks to come.

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