The Hawks have called on fugitive Ajay Gupta to hand over himself to authorities as soon as possible.
The Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said: “We now regard Mr Ajay Gupta of course as a fugitive. We’re making a plea so that we can avoid any embarrassment that he should hand himself over as soon as possible.”
“We were expecting them to hand him over there is going to be a search party looking for Ajay. There is a warrant for his arrest and we want to make sure he is behind bars as soon as possible,” Mulaudzi added.
Mulaudzi explained that they had spoken with his lawyers and expected him to come forward.
The elite crime investigation unit has also issued a stern warning to the Gupta’s bodyguards saying they should not try protect him from arrest as they would be charged with defeating the ends of justice.
According to reports, Ajay is wanted in connection with fraud investigations linked to the Estina Dairy farm project where the Guptas are believed to have stolen over R100 million from the Free State provincial government via the Vrede Farm’s project.
The project was intended to assist and empower impoverished farmers.
On Thursday, seven out of the eight accused linked to fraud surrounding million-rand transactions at the Vrede Farm Project appeared in court and were granted bail.
Mulaudzi said the accused, who are facing a range of charges including theft, corruption, contravening the Public Finance Management Act fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud were granted bail as they cooperated with authorities.
Bail reportedly ranged from R10 000 to R200 000 and suspects included Free State Agriculture and Rural Development head Mbana Peter Thabethe, his chief financial officer, Sylvia Seipati Dlamini, and former general manager District Services for the department, Dr Takisi Janki Masiteng.
“They’re not flight risks, some of them presented themselves to the NPA and the Hawks, hence the prosecuting team did not oppose bail but they have set stringent bail conditions so that they don’t evade justice.”
Conditions included surrendering their passports and abiding to the reporting conditions giving to them by the police.
Ajay Gupta’s brother, Atul Gupta, was also expected to turn himself in after a failed attempt to flee on Wednesday. He had reportedly tried to flee by jet but the pilot refused to take off.
Mulaudzi would not comment on whether or not Duduzane Zuma was also being targeted. This is despite reports that say Zuma’s Saxonworld mansion was amongst those raided on Wednesday and that a warrant was out for his arrest.
The case is set to continue in August.