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Persian carpets, antique furniture, granite statues and properties: assets traced to Iqbal Sharma and Guptas

04 June 2021 - 16:43 By nomahlubi sonjica
The Gupta property in Saxonwold. File photo.
The Gupta property in Saxonwold. File photo.
Image: Alon Skuy

Persian carpets, furniture imported from India, a 3-series BMW and a property worth millions showcased on the television show Top Billing.

These are just some of the assets the Investigating Directorate (ID) has seized from the Gupta family, their close associate Iqbal Sharma and his wife Tarina Patel-Sharma.

On Wednesday, the Free State high court in Bloemfontein granted a restraint order to freeze assets and homes belonging to the Guptas, Sharma and Patel-Sharma.

ID financial investigator Philimon Rankuoatsana listed assets that had been traced in an affidavit deposed to the court.

Rankuoatsana said Sharma owned a sectional title property worth R1.3m and a BMW 325CI.

He is a director of the following companies:

  • VRLS properties;
  • Aflot;
  • GMT Concepts;
  • Appeldore Investments;
  • Shelfco;
  • Mufase Investments;
  • Dr Patel Foundation;
  • Nulane Investments;
  • 79 NDC Swellendam;
  • ISSAR Investment holdings;
  • Daqor South Africa;
  • National Agricultural Development;
  • Garnes Mercantile;
  • Issar Capital;
  • Issar Management Services; and
  • New Nation Car Rental.

Sharma held memberships at Meer and Associates cc and 10% shares at Issar Global Ltd, registered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“This company is the owner of an immovable property [in] Morningside, Johannesburg,” Rankuoatsana said, adding it was valued at R12m.

In his investigation, Rankuoatsana discovered that Sharma held two Nedbank accounts.

Sharma and his wife, said Rankuoatsana, lived in a house owned by Issar Global limited.

“This property was also featured in an episode of a TV show called Top Billing screened on SABC3.

“During the TV show, Ms Patel-Sharma hosts the presenter of Top Billing, and takes him on a tour of the house in which she identifies several valuable movable assets and or furniture, and during which she makes three lavish outfit changes, including jewellery,” read the affidavit.

Based on observations made during this home tour, it appeared it contained movable assets worth about R500,000, including two granite carved elephant statues imported from India, two 14m-long Persian carpets imported from Kashmir in India, antique elephant brass door handles, antique royal lounge chairs imported from the Jaipur Palace in India, tapestries, antique furniture and artwork from an Indian artist known as “Kafung”.

Also featured during the show were his and hers walk-in closets containing jewellery and clothing from bespoke designers such as Versace.

Gupta family company Islandsite, which is in business rescue, had fixed property worth just more than R21m in Constantia, Cape Town.

The company also had property worth more than R12m in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

According to Rankuoatsana, the ID could obtain R47.3m worth of realisable property belonging to the defendants.