Associates of Gupta, former government official arrested for looting of funds

Two Gupta family associates and a former government official were arrested on Wednesday and appeared in Randburg Magistrates Court for allegedly laundering more than R100 million intended for the rehabilitation of the Optimum coal mine and the Koornfontein mine in 2016.

Former Tegeta Exploration and Resources Manager Ronica Ragavan, a former Optimum Mine administrator Pushpaveni Govender, and former Deputy Director General of the Department of Mineral Resources Joel Raphela have been arrested and charged with fraud, forgery, perjury and money laundering.

Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigations Directorate, Sindisiwe Seboka, said in a statement: “In 2015, Tegeta took control of the Optimum Mine Rehabilitation Trust and the Optimum Mine Rehabilitation Trust. from Koornfontein. Under the terms of the sale agreement, the rehabilitation funds had to be converted into cash by February 15, 2016.

“On May 23, 2016, R7.5 million was transferred from the Optimum Mine Rehabilitation Trust Account at Standard Bank to Optimum Coal Mine, and the amount was used as part of the R26.4 million payment. rands to Klipbank Mining, which is non-compliant with the requirements of the trust, regardless of the use of the funds.

“Ragavan and Govender secured R100 million from the Koorfontein trust account in June 2016 to vouch for a loan to Tegeta for the purchase of Optimum Coal Mine.”

According to Seboka, the Ministry of Mineral Resources has given its approval for the transfer of the 100% majority stake held by Optimum Coal Holdings in Optimum Mine and Koornfontein Mine to Tetega for mining and prospecting rights.

“According to the MPRDA [Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act]the Minister of Mineral Resources should retain rehabilitation funds to deal with rehabilitation and remediation of the adverse environmental impact of prospecting, exploration and mining operations when a mine is sold or closed” , she said.

Seboka added that the rights holder is the one who must ensure that the financial provision is equal to the amount of the actual costs of implementing the mine and environmental rehabilitation plans for 10 years after the closure of the mine. mine.

“In this case, the trustees so named in the case and the directors of the company are accused of orchestrating a scheme in which they requested that the funds held in the two rehabilitation funds be transferred to other current accounts of the Company and used for purposes contrary to the Ministry of Mineral Resources rules.

The implicated Optimum Coal Mine, Koornfontein Mine and Tegeta Exploration and Resources, along with the three defendants are due in court on June 22. The defendants are free on bail of R2,000 each.

Nompilo Zulu

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