Kamal Vasram, the former sole director of the Estina dairy farm, and co-accused Saliesh Indurjeeth were released on R10 000 bail on Tuesday after their arrest for fraud and the contravention of the International Trade Administration and Exchange Control Acts.
The alleged Gupta associate and his co-accused were arrested on Monday night after they were “directly linked” to the failed Estina project.
They appeared in the Pretoria Regional Court where the case was postponed to 11 February.
The arrest followed an investigation by SARS and the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Investigating Directorate, the two authorities said in a joint statement.
SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter and former ID director Hermione Cronje hailed the development as “inroads” made into the state capture investigation.
“The investigation established that Estina submitted customs clearance documents (SAD 500 and invoice), in support of a VAT refund claim. The customs declaration was then scrutinized and placed under the proverbial magnifying glass, whereupon the declared value of over R37.7 million for a so-called ‘new’ pasteurization plant was suspected to be excessively high,” the two authorities said.
“The suspected overpriced pasteurizing plant, which was imported from India, was rather invoiced to Estina by Gateway Limited in the United Arab Emirates. Evidence that is already in the public domain suggests that Gateway was used and controlled by the Guptas, as a conduit to launder money and to extract funds from South Africa.”
This finding led to the probe, “in the spirit of co-operative governance and collaboration, as provided for in terms of Section 41 of the Constitution”.
The overstated or inflated value was intentionally and unlawfully used by Estina and its sole director to launder funds from South Africa to the prejudice of the tax-paying public in general, the State alleges.