Estina‚ the company that ran the Gupta-linked Vrede dairy farm project, had only R9‚000 in its bank account before the first payment of R34m was deposited into it by the Free State department of agriculture. Court papers filed by the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) last week in support of a preservation order have now shown that the project was nothing more than a looting ground for the Gupta family and their associates — and that little to no oversight was exercised by the department over how the funds were being spent. The Bloemfontein High Court granted the order to freeze assets amounting to R220m and the Krynaauwlust Farm in Vrede in the Free State on Thursday. Atul Gupta is one the individuals whose personal bank accounts are affected by the order. The court papers reveal that R10m of the funds paid to Estina for the dairy farm was paid into his personal bank account. This is the first time that evidence has emerged of Gupta benefiting financially from questionable deals wit...

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