#Gupta associate ‘not flight risk’

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Iqbal Meer Sharma. PHOTO: OFM News/Lucky Nkuyane.

The alleged Gupta associate and sole director of a company said to have looted millions of rands in the Free State Estina adjacent case, seeks to be granted bail on tighter bail conditions.

OFM News reports, the director of Nulane Investment company, Iqbal Meer Sharma, whose company allegedly netted R24 million from a Department of Agriculture feasibility study in 2011, says the notion that he is flight risk is not true.

In an affidavit in court, he says if he wanted to flee from the allegations made against him and his company he could have already done so since he became aware of the allegations in 2018 and 2020. Sharma says during the investigation period by the police, he has travelled in and outside of the country and never had the intention to flee.

Sharma says amongst strict bail conditions, he could report to the Sandton Police Station once per week, not travel outside Gauteng without permission, not enter any port of entry and to surrender both his British and SA passports.

Meanwhile, Sharma will on Tuesday apply for bail in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court after his matter was postponed for further evidence and arguments. His three co-accused, the former HOD of Agriculture, Peter Thabethe, former Chief Financial Officer, Seipati Dlamini, and Chief Executive Officer of Bloem Water, Limakatso Moorosi, have been granted bail of R10 000 each.

They are accused of fraud, corruption and money laundering. This after they allegedly flaunted the public Finance Management Act by transgressing the tender procurement processes of a feasibility study set to alleviate poverty in the province through a provincial flagship “Mohuma Mobung”.

According to the state prosecutor, Jacyntha Witbooi, the Free State was one of the provinces often looted by the notorious Gupta family members and associates.

Thabethe, Dlamini and Moorosi allegedly aided Sharma to steal millions of rands meant for poverty alleviation from the public purse through an illegal procurement deal.

OFM News/Lucky Nkuyane