ANC secretary general Ace Magashule. Picture: THULI DLAMINI
ANC secretary general Ace Magashule. Picture: THULI DLAMINI

The office of Free State premier Ace Magashule has said it is co-operating with the Hawks investigators, who were raiding his offices in Bloemfontein on Friday.

“We would like to confirm that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation‚ commonly known as the Hawks‚ have visited the offices of the premier‚” Magashule’s spokesperson Tiisetso Makhele said. “They were in a possession of a search and seizure warrant. They are looking for documents relating to the Vrede dairy farm project.”

“The premier was not expected to be here as he is on another engagement. However‚ the director-general in the premier’s office‚ Kopung Ralikontsane‚ is assisting the team from the Hawks.”

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the Hawks had been there since Friday morning. “We are targeting the office of the premier as well as the offices of the Department of Agriculture.”

Mulaudzi said the raids were related to the Estina dairy farm project in Vrede‚ which is at the centre of the R220m allegedly paid to the controversial Gupta family and companies linked to their businesses. “We are looking for documents and any electronic information pertaining to our investigation. We are going to be here the whole day.”

Mulaudzi said the Hawks would analyse all the documentation then hand everything over to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Last Thursday, the High Court in the Free State granted an order to freeze assets amounting to R220m‚ including Krynaauwslust farm in Vrede.

Atul Gupta is one of the individuals affected by the order; the court papers contain allegations that R10m of the funds paid to Estina for the dairy farm was paid into his personal bank account.

The NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit has found that of the R220m given to Estina for the project‚ only R2m was spent on the farm.

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