Five people arrested during Hawks raids on various Gupta compounds are to appear in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Thursday, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed. The suspects were arrested in connection with investigations into the Free State Vrede dairy farm project, Mulaudzi said.
One Gupta brother and a business associate are among those arrested and more arrests are imminent. City Press reported that that former Free State agriculture head Peter Thabethe was arrested in connection with his involvement in the failed dairy farm project. Thabethe was the head of department at the time that Mosebenzi Zwane, who is now Minister of Mineral Resources, was the agriculture MEC.
Reuters also reported that police raided the offices of the Guptas’ Oakbay holding company in Johannesburg yesterday according to a security guard outside the building.
In January, the Hawks also conducted search and seizure operations at Free State Premier Ace Magashule’s offices and the provincial office of the Department of Agriculture, News24 reported.
An affidavit has also revealed that Free State’s agricultural department – then under Zwane – allegedly paid R220m to the Guptas and some of their associates in what the Asset Forfeiture Unit calls a “scheme designed to defraud and steal monies from the department”.
The Gupta Leaks revealed in 2017 how at least R30m paid to the Guptas, via the farm, ended up funding the family’s lavish Sun City wedding in 2013.