/ 8 June 2022

The list of NPA state capture arrests starts to grow

Family and friends: Ajay and Atul Gupta seated with Duduzane Zuma back left. Photo: Gallo Images/City Press/Muntu Vilakazi
Photo: Gallo Images/City Press/Muntu Vilakazi

In the past year there has been a trickle of arrests of people of interest connected to the wholesale looting of the state though the state capture project. It’s not yet time to celebrate though as these are only arrests and long trials are still to ensue. 

This week the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) together with the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services finally made progress in bringing what some would call the architects of the state capture closer to the dock. Fugitives Rajesh and Atul Gupta were arrested by Interpol and law enforcement authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the request of the South African government.

In a statement, the NPA said it is engaging with the relevant authorities regarding the arrest of the two Gupta brothers in the UAE.

“Extradition is a complex process involving many role players, including the executive. It would therefore not be appropriate for the NPA to discuss the details of that process in the media but can confirm that we are engaging with relevant authorities in SA and UAE,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The NPA has an experienced team of internal and external experts who are working closely with law enforcement and our partners in the criminal justice system on the matter,” the statement added. 

These are the other successful arrests made by the NPA of those involved in state capture:

  • On 27 May, former chief executive of Transet Siyabonga Gama, Regiment founding partner Eric Wood, former Transnet chief financial officer Garry Pita, former Transnet treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi and Trillian Asset Management director Daniel Roy were arrested on charges of contravention of the Public Finance Management Act, money laundering and fraud. They are all expected to appear in court again on 13 July 2022 at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court.  
  • On 25 May, former deputy director in the Department of Mineral Resources Joel Raphela, former Tegeta Exploration and Resources director Ronica Ragavan and former trustee of Optimum Coal Mine Pushpaveni Govender were arrested on charges related to fraud, forgery, uttering perjury and money laundering. They will appear again at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on 22 June 2022.   
  • On 2 June 2021, former Transnet board member Iqbal Sharma was arrested in connection with a R24.9-million feasibility study which the Free State Agriculture Department allegedly made to Nulane Investment — a company directed by Sharma — for potential farming projects. Sharma is among 17 accused facing charges of money laundering and fraud after he and former Free State agriculture department officials Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dlamini conspired to divert funds into a Estina dairy project in Vrede in the Free State which were meant for rural development in the province. The case has been set for trial from 23 January to 3 March 2023. The high court in Bloemfontein began hearing pretrial issues earlier and has adjourned to finalise the pre-trial issues on 24 June 2022.
  • On 13 November 2020, former ANC secretary general Ace Magashule was arrested and appeared before the Bloemfontein magistrate’s court in connection with the R255-million asbestos scandal. Magashule, together with his co-accused, who included former Mangaung mayor Olly Mlamleli and businessman Edwin Sodi, faces charges of corruption, money laundering and fraud. The high court in Bloemfontein refused his application to have the charges against him dismissed in March. 

In October 2020, former ANC member of parliament Vincent Smith was arrested on charges of corruption and fraud after being implicated by former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi. Agrizzi back in February 2019, alongside former department of correctional services commissioner Linda Mti, his then chief financial officer Patrick Gillingham and Bosasa former chief financial officer Andries van Tonder appeared before the Pretoria magistrate’s court on allegations related to corruption, money laundering, fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Smith is facing new charges relating to tax fraud and money laundering and is currently out on bail.