Gupta-owned company co-director Ronica Ragavan arrested

08 October 2021 - 12:03
Ronica Ragavan was processed and appeared before the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on Friday morning.
Ronica Ragavan was processed and appeared before the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on Friday morning.
Image: NPA Investigating Directorate

Gupta-owned company Islandsite Investments Pty Ltd co-director Ronica Ragavan was arrested on Friday morning, the National Prosecuting Authority Investigating Directorate (ID) said.

ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said Ragavan was processed and was appearing before the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court on Friday morning.

Islandsite Investments Pty and Ragavan were added to the failed Estina dairy feasibility case study case at a previous court appearance on September 28. Ragavan failed to appear at court, citing medical reasons. 

Ragavan will appear alongside former Transnet board member Iqbal Sharma, Nulane Investments 204 employee Dinesh Patel, former Free State head of department for rural development Peter Thabethe, former Free State agriculture head of department Limakatso Moorosi and former department CFO Seipati Dhlamini, who all appeared with their lawyers during a virtual hearing on Friday morning.

They face charges of fraud and money laundering.

The former government officials are also charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

The case relates to procurement fraud involving R24.9m paid by the Free State department of agriculture to Nulane Investments.

A feasibility study was contracted to Nulane Investments by the Free State government to check the likelihood of success of the Mohoma Mobung agriculture project.

Nulane Investments, however, had no employees on its books and subcontracted Deloitte to produce the report.

Deloitte was paid R1.5m for the work.

The only change made to the Deloitte report was to identify Paras dairy as a suitable implementing partner for the development of a milk processing plant in Vrede, Free State.

In July, the ID said efforts to bring the Gupta brothers and their wives back to SA to face charges had intensified, with Interpol issuing red notices for their arrest.

Atul Gupta and his wife Chetali, Rajesh Gupta and his wife Arti, and three others are wanted to join the other accused.