Absence of other accused is contentious to court, senior state counsel argues

Senior Counsel for the state, Nazeer Cassim, has argued that the absence of other accused in court in the case involving R25 million paid by the Free State Department of Agriculture to Nulane Investment is contentious to the court.

Iqbal Sharma who is the sole director of Nulane showed up while court proceedings were underway.

His co-accused and brother in-law Dinesh Patel missed the court proceedings.

He however, managed to present himself to Judge Martha Mbhele in time before the lapse of the two hour deadline set out in a warrant of arrest issued against him by the judge.

Both accused say their flights were delayed due to adverse weather conditions.

The court was meant to have finalised all pre-trial issues, ahead of the trial set for 23 January to 3 March next year.

However, the defense has asked for more time to study a 300 page document which they reportedly received 24 hours before the court sitting.

National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Investigative Directorate (ID) spokesperson, Sindisiwe Seboka, says the state has a case.

“The requests sent by some of the accused were responded to this month. Then we also found out in court today that they will require further and better particulars. A timeline has also been mapped out by ourselves as well as the various legal representatives of when the submissions will be sent. We have told court that we will comply as best as possible. We will ensure that by the time we come back in September, we have done our part,” Seboka adds.

The video below is reporting more on the story:

Judge Martha Mbele earlier warned lawyers for the accused, who were not on time at the court, that she would take steps to keep them in a place that would ensure that they are present in court when needed.-Reporting by Kamogelo Seekoei

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