State in Nulane trial criticised for how it handled investigations

State in Nulane trial criticised for how it handled investigations

The state has come under fire at the Nulane trial in the high court in Bloemfontein. Defense lawyer Kenny Oldwage who is representing the accused, Dinesh Patel, says the way the investigation was conducted is embarrassing.

Mandla Mtolo gave testimony on how the investigation was conducted. The case emanates from a 2011 feasibility study that was carried out by Nulane Investments.

The state has been criticised for violating procedures of investigation in the R25 million Nulane fraud and corruption case.

The lead investigator in the case, Mandla Mtolo, is one of the state’s key witnesses and he is accused by the defense of not being transparent.

The millions were purportedly paid to Nulane to conduct a feasibility study for the Free State Province’s flagship Mohoma Mobung project, on the basis that Nulane had unique skills to perform the work.

Oldwage put to Mtolo that the authenticity of some documents provided as evidence for the case is in dispute. Oldwage says Mtolo misled the court by breaking the rules in obtaining certain exhibits related to the investigation.

State has failed to see discrepancies

Senior Counsel Mike Hellens representing accused Ronica Ragavan and Islandsite Investments have submitted that the state has failed to see discrepancies in its investigation.

Hellens says Mtolo’s investigation was based on face value. In the indictment, it has been indicated that the bank account of accused number seven in which Islandsite Investments was used to manage and control the Gupta Enterprises funds including the proceeds of unlawful activities.

Financial flow raised eyebrows 

Another, state witness, Ntokozo Zama who is a chartered accountant testified that the financial flow between the Gupta associates companies raised eyebrows. Zama told the court that  in 2010, more than R70 million was transferred from Pragat to other companies in one day.

He says a week later, R37 million was deposited back to the account. Zama was also a financial investigator in the state capture commission. He says there were no other business expenses to the bank statements that he has analysed between 2010 to 2013.

The companies that were paid include Islandsite, Oakbay Investments as well as Atul Gupta. The trial  continues.

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