Magashule’s office co-operating with the Hawks
The office of Free State Premier Ace Magashule said on Friday it was co-operating with the Hawks investigators who were raiding his offices in Bloemfontein.
“We would like to confirm that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation‚ commonly known as the Hawks‚ have visited the offices of the premier‚” Magashule’s spokesman Tiisetso Makhele said.
“They were in a possession of a search and seizure warrant. They are looking for documents relating to the Vrede dairy farm project.”
Makhele said the raid was ongoing on Friday afternoon.
“The premier was not expected to be here as he is on another engagement. However‚ the director-general in the Premier’s Office‚ Kopung Ralikontsane‚ is assisting the team from the Hawks‚” Makhele said.
Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the Hawks had been there since Friday morning.
“We are targeting the office of the premier as well as the offices of the Department of Agriculture‚” Mulaudzi said.
Mulaudzi said the raids were related to the Estina dairy farm project‚ which is at the centre of the R220-million allegedly paid to the controversial Gupta family and companies linked to their businesses.
“We are looking for documents and any electronic information pertaining to our investigation. We are going to be here the whole day‚” he said.
Mulaudzi said the Hawks would analyse all the document and then hand over everything to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The Free State High Court last Thursday granted an order to freeze assets amounting to R220-million‚ including Krynaauwslust farm in Vrede.
Atul Gupta is one of the individuals whose personal bank accounts are affected by the order. The court papers contain allegations that R10-million of the funds paid to Estina for the dairy farm was paid into his personal bank account.
The NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit has found that of the R220-million given to Estina for the project‚ only R2-million was spent on the farm.