- Court papers reveal that Ashok Narayan served as an adviser to Ace Magashule when plans were drawn up for the establishment of the Vrede dairy farm project
- Narayan is known to have very close ties with the Gupta family and is believed to be one of their most trusted associates
- The latest scandal comes courtesy of an affidavit filed by Peter Thabethe a former HOD at the Free State department of agriculture and co-accused in the ongoing Vrede dairy case
Court papers have revealed that Ashok Narayan served as an adviser to the then Free State premier Ace Magashule when the initial plans for the establishment of the infamous Vrede dairy farm project were first drawn up.
Narayan is known to have very close ties with the Gupta family and is believed to be one of the family’s most trusted associates. Narayan’s involvement with the Vrede project has been laid bare through various sources since 2013.
His close personal ties to Magashule, who has risen from Free State premier to African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general in the intervening years, was not known until it was revealed in a sworn affidavit filed by Peter Thabethe.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Thabethe is a co-accused in the ongoing Vrede dairy farm case and served as a head of department at the provincial department of agriculture at the time when plans were being discussed and drawn up for the Vrede project.
News24.com reported that the department which was under the guidance of Thabethe identified India as a possible investment partner for the planned project.
Thabethe’s affidavit states the following:
"I then made a request to the Premier Honourable ES Magashule on recommendations of the former MEC Mosebenzi Zwane to take a trip to India accompanied by Mr Ashok Narayana an adviser to the office of the premier at that time"
According to Thabethe the trip which took place in late February and early March of 2012 was approved by Magashule who also authorised the provincial government to pay all the related expenses.
The latest revelation puts serious doubt on Magashule’s previous statement that he knew nothing about the Guptas involvement or ties with the Vrede project.
Thabethe, several Gupta associates and business partners and at least two other Free State provincial government officials face charges which include fraud, theft and racketeering for their part in the Vrede project scandal.
Earlier Briefly.co.za reported that Magashule has once again been accused of using his political office to benefit those closest to him.
Damning new reports indicate that Magashule’s daughter and younger brother benefitted from Free State provincial government contracts for road maintenance and grass cutting.
Neither the ANC nor Magashule have commented on the latest scandals.
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