World Media

Ajay Gupta declared a fugitive from justice

Ajay Gupta declared a fugitive from justice

Bloemfontein-15/02/2018- Former Oakbay chief executive Nazeem Howa was one of the 8 suspects who appeared at Bloemfontein magistrate court in connection with charges of fraud and corruption, in the Vrede dairy farm project case.

Prosecutors have seized 220 million rand ($19 million) in state funds allocated to the project and froze bank accounts of one of the Gupta brothers, Atul Gupta. "Operations are still ongoing and further details will be made available at a later stage".

Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi declined to comment on Duduzane being sought but confirmed that Ajay was a fugitive from the law and that he was being protected by a team of bodyguards.

South Africa's elite Police unit have raided the home of the controversial Gupta family as the investigation continue into the so-called state capture.

Onlookers gather in the street surrounding the compound.

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The Gupta family are close associates of the 75-year-old former president, as his son, daughter and one of the president's wives have for worked for the family firm.

The Rosebank Killarney Gazette is now on scene and attempting to gather more information from Mulaudzi, whose phone is now engaged.

Anti-corruption non-profit Forensics for Justice has put up a R100,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of Ajay Gupta within 48 hours (18h00, Saturday).

However, City Press has established that elder Gupta brother Ajay is in the country.

The SABC, South Africa's state broadcaster, said a Gupta family member was among those detained.

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Earlier this week the Hawks raided Gupta properties in Johannesburg in connection with the dairy farm, which prosecutors last month called a "scheme created to defraud and steal". "We are making a plea so that we can avoid any embarrassment that he should hand himself over as soon as possible", he said.

The Head of the Department of Agriculture in the Free State, Peter Thabethe, is allegedly also among the suspects.

She said they were now in the process of handing the information over to the Hawks.

The Guptas, according to a preservation order secured by the Asset Forfeiture Unit, syphoned off more than R200 million from the project which was established under the province's "Zero Hunger" programme and supposed to assist poor black farmers.

Another is newly elected ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, who also drove the Vrede initiative as Free State premier.

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