No Bail For Gupta-Linked Sharma, Considered Flight Risk

Jailed businessman Iqbal Sharma, widely thought to be an associate of the wanted Gupta brothers, was denied bail by the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

The Gupta brothers, who fled South Africa, have been placed on a Red Notice.

Once Interpol locates and arrests them extradition processes will kick in so that they can face charges in South Africa that include fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.

Sharma told the court that if he wanted to run away he would have done so long ago. He denied being a Gupta associate.

But the court was not persuaded and instead denied him bail because it considered him a flight risk as suggested by state prosecutor Peter Serunye. Sharma, who was arrested last week, will remain locked up until his next court appearance.

Sharma was arrested along with Dr Limakatso Moorosi, from the Department of Agriculture, Seipati Dhlamini, the department’s ex-financial officer, and former Free State department of agriculture head Peter Thabethe..All the other suspects have been granted bail.

The state case against Sharma and former Free State officials takes on the earliest known Gupta money-laundering scheme, a R25 million deal from the Free State government in 2011.

The alleged scam resulted in 85% of the funds ending up in Gupta accounts.