Hawks confirm raids at Free State Premier's office

The Hawks have confirmed that they are currently conducting search and seizure operations at both the office of Free State Premier Ace Magashule and the provincial office of the Department of Agriculture.

“Yes I can confirm that we have been here since around 8:30am. We are targeting the office of the Premier as well as the offices of the Department of Agriculture,” Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told SAnews in the wake of the news on Friday.

Mulaudzi confirmed the raids are related to the Vrede Dairy matter which is at the centre of the R220 million allegedly paid to the controversial Gupta family and companies linked to their businesses. The Bloemfontein High Court last week granted an order to freeze assets amounting to R220 million, including the Krynaauwslust Farm in Vrede in the Free State.

According to court papers filed by the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeture Unit last week in support of a preservation order, allegations were that the project channelled money to the Gupta family and a host of other individuals.

“We are looking for documents and any electronic information pertaining to our investigation. We are going to be here the whole day. We will obviously analyse everything and in the end hand over everything to the NPA,” said Mulaudzi.

Reports in the public domain claim that R10 million from the money was paid directly to one of the Gupta brothers.

Magashule was the Premier of the Free State at the time the alleged R220 million was paid out while current Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane was MEC for Agriculture.

Magashule was elected Secretary General of the governing African National Congress at its elective December 2017 conference. The ANC said on Friday that law enforcement agencies should be allowed to do their work and the law should be given space to take its course.

– SAnews.gov.za