The NPA wants to prosecute Atul and Rajesh Gupta for the alleged siphoning off of state funds in a botched R25 million rural development project.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that the absence of Gupta brothers, Rajesh and Atul, from the start of Nulane corruption trial at the Bloemfontein High Court on Monday morning is not expected to affect proceedings.

The NPA wants to prosecute the brothers for the alleged siphoning off of state funds in a botched R25 million rural development project.

The Free State government irregularly awarded a multi-million rand tender to Nulane Investments in 2011 before the money was diverted to Islandsite Investments, a Gupta-owned company.

At least three Gupta associates, including Iqbal Sharma, are now on trial for fraud and money laundering, while another three former Free State officials face an additional charge of contravening the Public Finance Management Act.

Spokesperson for the MPA’s Investigative Directorate, Sindisiwe Seboka, said that South African authorities were still negotiating the extradition of the Guptas with United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials.

“The prosecution strategy has always been to proceed with the persons currently in the country and when the time comes, if the other jurisdiction so agrees, then we will continue with those that are currently here, so it does not have any bearing on this particular matter.”

By: Nokukhanya Mntambo

For more information visit: ewn.co.za

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