State Capture Inquiry continue to hear Thabethe’s testimony

The State Capture Commission will on Friday continue to hear testimony from former Head of the Free State Agriculture Department, Peter Thabethe, regarding the controversial Estina Dairy farm project.

Thabethe has been implicated as the driver in the project intended to benefit emerging farmers. He was later arrested on charges of fraud and corruption with seven other individuals with regards to the project.

The charges were later provisionally withdrawn.

On Thursday, Thabethe told the commission in Parktown, Johannesburg, that his department paid for former Free State Premier Ace Magashule’s advisor, Ashok Narayan’s trip to India, even though he was not an official.

Thabethe conceded that he should have questioned Nayaran’s presence at the trip and the fact that the government had to pay for his flight.

Commission Chairperson Raymond Zondo asked: “So you did not have a problem with the department paying for Mr. Narayana’s trip to India, you did not have a problem spending taxpayers money on that?”

“Chair, I don’t have an answer for the questions,” Thabethe responded.

Zondo further asked: “As an accounting officer and as Head of Department you should have an answer. Here comes a situation where you are effectively told to pay for somebody’s trip for which you don’t have any justification for them to take that trip and to be paid from the department, do you agree?”

“I agree, chair,” answered Thabethe.

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