Estina‚ the company that ran the Gupta-linked Vrede Dairy Farm Project, had only R9‚000 in its bank account before the first payment of R34-million was deposited into it by the Free State department of agriculture.
Court papers filed by the National Prosecuting Authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) last week in support of a preservation order have now shown the project was nothing more than a looting ground for the Gupta family and their associates – and that little to no oversight was exercised by the department over how the funds were being spent.
The Bloemfontein High Court on Thursday granted the order to freeze assets amounting to R220-million, including the Krynaauwlust Farm in Vrede in the Free State.
Atul Gupta is one the individuals whose personal bank accounts are affected by the order. The court papers reveal R10-million of the funds paid to Estina for the dairy farm was paid into his personal bank account.
This is the first time evidence has emerged of Gupta benefiting financially from questionable deals with state departments or entities.
All told, the AFU has found that of the R220-million given to Estina for the project‚ only R2-million was actually spent on the farm. The rest was siphoned off to the Gupta family and their associates.