Fifth accused in R25m Vrede dairy farm feasibility study matter granted bail
The feasibility study was awarded to Nulane Investments but the work was done by Deloitte for R1.5 million and Sharma and the Guptas allegedly pocketed the rest of the money.
JOHANNESBURG - The fifth accused in the R25 million Vrede dairy farm feasibility study case, Dinesh Patel, has been granted R10,000 bail by the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court.
Patel is charged with his brother-in-law and Nulane Investments owner, Iqbal Sharma, former Free State Rural Development head, Peter Thabethe and former officials Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dlamini.
He did not appear with the first four suspects last week due to ill health but he was finally charged with fraud and money laundering on Tuesday.
Eleven others are yet to be charged.
The Vrede dairy farm feasibility study was awarded to Sharma's Nulane Investments but the work was done by Deloitte for R1.5 million, while Sharma and the Guptas allegedly pocketed the rest of the money.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)'s Sindisiwe Seboka said that Sharma's brother-in-law, Patel, had joined the accused here in South Africa.
"Dinesh Patel has been granted bail by the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court owing to the Investigating Directorate not opposing bail. What is expected to happen next, is that the matter will then reappear on the 5th of July where all the accused who are currently in South Africa will then appear, where the matter will then be transferred to the High Court," Seboka said.
Patel is the fourth suspect to be granted bail.
Sharma will remain behind bars until the trial was concluded because the prosecution convinced the court that he was a flight risk and did not disclose all of his offshore assets.
The recently signed extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates brings the NPA closer to finding the two Gupta brothers and their wives who are directly linked to the transaction but the complex process will determine how long it will take for them to be brought back to South Africa.