Heads have begun to roll because of the state capture as the Investigating Directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority begins making arrests. On Wednesday, the directorate announced that they have arrested three suspects that are connected to the R288 million Estina Dairy project in Vrede in the Free State. In announcing the arrests, the department said that they had arrested Iqbal Sharma, who is a close associate of the notorious family who relates to the state capture together with former president of the African National Congress and the republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, the Gupta family.
Confirming the arrests, the ID said in a statement, “The ID can confirm that a high-profile businessman has been arrested along with three former Free State Department of Agriculture officials this morning. The group was arrested in the Free State, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga and will appear in the Free State Magistrates Court tomorrow, 2 June 2021 at 9 am. The arrest of the fifth suspect is imminent.” The other three suspects the statement was referring to are Peter Thabethe and Dr. Limakatso Moorosi, who are former Agricultural heads of department in the Free State and Seipati Slyvia Dhlamini, who was the Chief Financial Officer.
It is alleged that the accused were involved in a network involving money laundering, which resulted in the demise of the Estina project, which was meant to empower the local communities as it was expected to produce at least 100 kilolitres of milk per day. Instead, it is alleged, the money was laundered, involving a series of bank accounts which ended up in the accounts of Atul, Ajay, and Rajesh Gupta. The Gupta brothers, who are close friends and business partners of former president Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane, are said to have fled the country in 2018 and are believed to be resident in the United Arab Emirates.