Politics

Gupta associates, ex-government official arrested for plundering funds



Two Gupta household associates and a former authorities official have been on Wednesday arrested and appeared on the Randburg Justice of the Peace’s court docket for allegedly laundering greater than R100-million meant for the rehabilitation of the Optimum Coal Mine and Koornfontein Mine in 2016.

Former Tegeta Exploration and Resources director Ronica Ragavan, a former trustee of Optimum Mine Pushpaveni Govender, and former deputy director-general within the Department of Mineral Resources Joel Raphela have been nabbed and charged with fraud, forgery, uttering, perjury, and money-laundering.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s investigating directorate’s spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka stated in a press release: “In 2015, Tegeta took management of Optimum Mine rehabilitation belief and the Koornfontein rehabilitation belief. In phrases of the sale settlement, the rehabilitation funds needed to be transformed into money by 15 February 2016.

“On 23 May 2016, R7.5-million was transferred from the Optimum Mine rehabilitation belief account at Standard Bank to Optimum Coal Mine, and the quantity was used as a part of the cost of R26.4-million to Klipbank Mining, which isn’t in accordance with the necessities of the belief, no matter what the funds have been used for.

“Ragavan and Govender obtained R100-million from the Koorfontein trust account in June 2016 to act as surety for a loan in favour of Tegeta for the purchase of Optimum Coal Mine.”

According to Seboka, the Department of Mineral Resources gave consent for the disposal of the 100% controlling curiosity held by Optimum Coal Holdings in Optimum Mine and Koornfontein Mine to Tetega for mining and prospecting rights.

“According to the MPRDA [Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act], the minister of mineral resources is expected to keep the rehabilitation funds to deal with rehabilitation and remediation of adverse environmental impact of prospecting, exploration and mining operations when a mine is sold off or closes,” she stated.

Seboka added that the holder of the rights is the one chargeable for guaranteeing that the monetary provision is the same as the quantity of the particular prices of implementing the plans to rehabilitate the mine and surroundings for 10 years after the closure of the mine.

“In this case, the trustees so cited in the case and company directors, are accused of orchestrating a scheme where they requested the funds held in the two rehab funds to be transferred into other current company accounts and used for purposes in breach of the Department of Mineral Resources’ rules.”

Implicated Optimum Coal Mine, Koornfontein Mine and Tegeta Exploration and Resources, in addition to the three accused are anticipated again in court docket on June 22. The accused are out on R2 000 bail every.


Nompilo Zulu



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