Restraint order of Gupta-owned company assets to remain in effect until October

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The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says the interim restraint order against the Guptas and their associates’ assets will remain in force until the next court hearing.

This is after the Bloemfontein High Court on Friday dismissed an application from Islandsite Investments to postpone the state’s bid to finalise the restraint order freezing assets worth millions belonging to the Gupta-owned company.

Islandsite – which is owned by Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their wives, Chetali and Arti Gupta – challenged the restraint order after it was granted in August last year in favour of the NPA’s Investigating Directorate (ID).

The order was granted in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act (POCA).

At the time, Judge Cagney Musi ruled that Islandsite’s directors had no legal standing in challenging the restraint order so without the approval of the company’s business rescue practitioners.

Islandsite’s business rescue practitioners, Kurt Knoop and Johan Klopper, filed a notice of intention to oppose the restraint order in October and an answering affidavit on 1 November.

Assets

Arguments on the confirmation of the restraint order against Islandsite, former Guptas associate Iqbal Sharma and his company Nulane Investments will now be heard in October 2022.

Islandsite, which is under business rescue, had a postponement pending their application to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to appeal the August 2021 ruling.

“The interim restraint order remains in force until the next court hearing on 20 – 21 October, when the confirmation hearing is expected to be heard,” ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said in a statement.

Sharma’s assets include his Sandton home valued at R12 million, which was on the now-defunct lifestyle show, Top Billing.

Other assets include movable property valued at R500,000, a Porsche and a R1.3 million sectional title home in Sandton.

Meanwhile, Islandsite’s assets include a house worth R21 million in Constantia, Cape Town, and a R12 million house in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

R1.6bn worth of Gupta-linked assets

Earlier this month, the NPA came out victorious in its bid to freeze R1.6 billion worth of assets belonging to Gupta-linked consultancy firm, Regiments Capital.

The NPA had appealed a previous court ruling handed down by Judge Maletsatsi Mahalelo on the matter.

In November 2019, the Johannesburg High Court provisionally froze the assets – allegedly linked to the looting of Transnet.

READ MORE: Court order blocks sale of Guptas’ Optimum Coal Holdings

However, Judge Mahalelo overturned the ruling after finding that then-ID head Hermione Cronje had failed to disclose various material facts during the initial proceedings.

But the high court overturned the same ruling last week.

Judge Raylene Keightley, penning the judgment on behalf of the full bench, ruled that Judge Mahalelo had been wrong to reject Cronje’s evidence.

Source: citizen