Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma to apply for bail in Bloemfontein high court
Gupta family associate and businessman Iqbal Sharma is expected to apply for bail in the Bloemfontein high court on Friday.
This after Sharma was denied bail by the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on June 8 and took the matter to the high court. Investigating Directorate (ID) spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said the bail application was expected to be heard virtually.
Sharma has appeared in court in connection with the failed R288m Estina dairy project in the Free State.
He was arrested with Peter Thabethe and Dr Limakatso Moorosi, who are former heads of the department of agriculture, and Seipati Dhlamini, who was the department’s CFO. Moorosi, Dhlamini and Thabethe are out on bail of R10,000.
At the time, the state argued that Sharma had been “dishonest” with the court about his financial affairs, that he travels extensively, that he speaks foreign languages, is “extremely wealthy” and that he was a flight risk.
The state said Sharma “presents an overwhelming flight risk who has the means and incentive to flee SA”.
Investigating officer Col Mandla Aloise Mtolo said no sum put up for bail was likely to act as a meaningful counterweight to incentivise Sharma to remain in the country.
In her bail ruling, magistrate Estelle de Lange said the state had a strong case against Sharma and that should he be released on bail there was a possibility he would flee.
De Lange said Sharma had the incentives and financial means to evade trial. She said should he flee the country, the state would then have to go through a lengthy and costly process to get Sharma back.
De Lange said the accused entering different countries without the necessary documents was also a possibility.
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