The lawyers representing the accused, including former officials of the Free State Agriculture Department, who allegedly paid millions of rands to the so-called Gupta Lieutenant Iqbal Sharma’s Nulane Investments company in 2011/2012, want all the charges against their clients dropped.
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This comes after the state, led by Adv. Peter Serunye and Adv. Jacyntha Witbooi closed the state’s case following the trials that at least lasted six weeks. The state called up to 21 witnesses to testify in this fraud, corruption, and money laundering trial.
The acting judge, Nompumelelo Gusha, has earlier made a damning ruling against the state in relation to its investigation of the matter and also in relation to the evidence brought forward.
Judge Gusha ruled that some of the documents produced in court as evidence failed to pass the tests of originality and authenticity.
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She made reference to the documents from the so-called Gupta lieutenant Iqbal Sharma’s Nulane Investments company, including the R8 million tax invoice, a contract between the Agriculture Department and Nulane, and also Delloite’s due diligence report. Judge Gusha ruled the Nulane tax invoice and the department’s deviation document, crafted by Shadrack Cezule, were admissible but the contract between the department and Nulane, and a due diligence report were ruled inadmissible. Judge Gusha said all the evidence the state came to rely upon to prove the authenticity, came to nothing.
“As authenticity was considered an issue, the state submitted that they would tender the original documents to prove the authenticity of the documents. In furtherance of this application, the state has placed its reliance on section 3 of the Law of Evidence Amendment Act 45 of 1988, which deals with hearsay evidence.”
This application was