By Kaya959 News
Iqbal Sharma was denied bail after the court deemed the former Transnet Board member and Gupta family associate a flight risk.
Sharma appeared before Magistrate Estelle de Lange at the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on Tuesday.
During his bail application, the court heard that he had failed to disclose that he had transferred R264, 459, 241 to Issar Global based in the United Arab Emirates between 22 August 2016 – 8 December 2016.
The Investigating Directive’s Sindisiwe Seboka said the court also heard that Sharma’s assets in South Africa only accounted for 10% of his total assets.
“He has made more than 100 flights to and from the airports in the UAE since 2010. Sharma is a citizen of the world and has connections to several foreign countries. He additionally speaks three different international languages: French, Urdu and Hindi,” she said.
C0-accused granted bail
Sharma and three others were arrested in stings in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free State on 3 June.
Seboka said his two other co-accused were granted bail of R10 000 each.
“They are former Free State, Agriculture, and Rural Development head Peter Thabethe, former head of FSDoA Limakatso Moorosi and former FSDoA Chief Financial Officer, Seipati Dhlamini,” she said.
Sharma is amongst 16 other accused who face charges relating to defrauding the Free State Department of Agriculture.
The fraud is in connection with a R25m feasibility study in 2011 that was irregularly granted to Nulane Investment 204 (PTY) LTD, a company owned and controlled by Sharma.
The company had to provide a report to the department within seven months. Nulane, however, subcontracted the work to Deloitte Consulting Pty Ltd for R1.5m.
Furthermore, it subcontracted the work already completed by Deloitte to Gateway Limited and paid them over R19m. From there, the funds were diverted to Islandsite Investments 180 (Pty) Ltd (Islandsite), a company owned and controlled by the Gupta family.
The accused face charges of fraud and money laundering. The former government officials are also charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.
Sharma’s brother-in-law due in court next week
The fifth suspect in the matter, Iqbal Sharma’s brother-in-law and a representative of Nulane Investments, Dinesh Patel, will formally appear on 15 June 2021, owing to health reasons. They are charged together with three companies, Nulane Investment 204 (Pty) Ltd (owned and controlled by Sharma), Wone Management (PTY) LTD, Pragat Investment (Pty) LTD and Islandsite Investments Pty Ltd.
The balance of the accused listed in the charge sheet are not currently in South Africa.
All the accused are expected back in the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court on 5 July.
“The ID has concluded Investigations, is ready to hand over the docket to the defence and start with the trial as soon as possible,” Seboka said.
She said the ID welcomed the Magistrate’s decision not to grant Sharma bail. Sharma is married to Tarina Patel of the Real Housewives of Johannesburg fame.
The couple’s R12m Sandton mansion was seized by the NPA.