It's the third matter the State has lost now. Once is an accident. Twice is careless. Three, some people might say, is beginning to look deliberate.— Bruce Whitfield, The Money Show
The High Court in Bloemfontein has set aside the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU)’s R250 million restraining order obtained against several Gupta companies and their directors as well as Free State government employees.
The parties are all co-accused in the Estina dairy farm case.
They are alleged to have siphoned off government funds intended for poor farmers into Gupta accounts.
AFU secured the restraining order last month, but without the parties having an opportunity to oppose it.
The High Court considered the test for granting a restraining order and only needed to establish whether the available evidence against the parties could reasonably support a prosecution.
The court, however, found that the evidence relied on by prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams in his application for the order showed many shortcomings which have not been explained.
It further found there was uncertainty as to the exact source of the funds being moved between the various bank accounts.
The court ruled there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the parties may be convicted of the offences as alleged and that a successful confiscation order would follow.
The Guptas' advocate Mike Hellens described the state as “recklessly incompetent”.
The assets in question include 43 homes, farms and business properties, two aeroplanes, a helicopter, a Porsche‚ a Lamborghini‚ Range Rovers and other cars and bank accounts belonging to Oakbay Investments and Sahara Computers.
Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for quotes from it).
It’s a significant blow to the State in favour of the Guptas… this is the second preservation order that has been set aside…— Barry Bateman, EWN
This is the third time the State has failed… It’s certainly concerning… that the State has been soundly beaten by the Guptas because they failed to produce the relevant facts.— Barry Bateman, EWN
We’re back in court in August, I think...— Barry Bateman, EWN
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This article first appeared on 702 : Guptas get cash, Lamborghinis, helicopter (worth R250m) back after victory