Mahatma Gandhi's great-granddaughter sentenced to jail in fraud case in South Africa

Mahatma Gandhi's great-granddaughter, Ashish Lata Ramgobin, has been sentenced to seven-year imprisonment by a court in South Africa in a 6 million rand fraud case, according to media reports

Jun 09, 2021
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Mahatma Gandhi's great-granddaughter, Ashish Lata Ramgobin

Mahatma Gandhi's great-granddaughter, Ashish Lata Ramgobin, has been sentenced to seven-year imprisonment by a court in South Africa in a 6 million rand fraud case, according to media reports.

Ramgobin, 56, was pronounced guilty by a Durban court of defrauding businessman SR Maharaj 6.2 million rands or Rs 3.3 crore.

The complainant gave the money to Ramgobin to clear import and customs duty for consignment arriving from India, which were non-existent.

Lata Ramgobin is the daughter of noted rights activist Ella Gandhi and Mewa Ramgobind.

According to a Hindustan Times report, Ramgobin was accused of providing forged invoices and documents to convince potential investors that three containers of linen were dispatched from India.

The trial in the cases had started in 2015, and Ramgobin was released at a bail of 50,000 rand.

Maharaj is the director of New Africa  Alliance Footwear Distributors. He met Ramgobin in 2015.

According to the report, Maharaj's company deals in linen and footwear item that it  imports, manufactures and sells and also provides finance to other companies on a profit-share basis.

Ramgobin had told Maharaj that she had sourced three containers of linen for the South African Hospital Grouo NetCare, the report informed.

"She said she was experiencing financial difficulties to pay for import costs and customs and she needed the money to clear the goods at the harbour,” NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said on Monday, the report quoted.

"She advised him (Maharaj) that she needed R6.2 million. To convince him, she showed him what she claimed was a signed purchase order for the goods. Later that month, she sent him what seemed to be a NetCare invoice and delivery note as proof that the goods were delivered and payment was imminent," she said, it added.

She “further sent him confirmation from NetCare’s bank account that payment had been made”, Kara said, the report added.

Trusting Ramgobin’s family credentials and NetCare documents, the businessman entered into a written agreement with her for the loan.

However, he found that th documents were forged and NetCare did not have any agreement with Lata Ramgobin, and pressed criminal charges against her.(SAM)

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