Mahatma Gandhi's great-granddaughter, Ashish Lata Ramgobin, was found guilty of a six-million- South African rand (approximately Rs 3.3 crore) fraud and forgery case in a Durban court on Monday. The 56-year-old was sentenced to seven years in jail, PTI reports.
Lata Ramgobin was accused of defrauding businessman SR Maharaj of R6.2 million to allegedly clear import and customs duties for a non-existent consignment from India. Maharaj was promised a share of the profit, PTI reported.
She had told Maharaj that she had imported three containers of linen for the South African Hospital Group NetCare.
“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 as per PTI reports.
Daughter of human rights activist Ela Gandhi and late Mewa Ramgobind was barred to appeal against both, the conviction as well as the sentence. The trial against Lata Ramgobin started in 2015.
Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had said that she allegedly provided forged invoices and documents to convince potential investors that three containers of linen were being shipped in from India, PTI adds. She was released on bail of 50,000 rand.
The Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court, on Monday, was informed that Lata Ramgobin had met Maharaj in August 2015. Maharaj, director of the New Africa Alliance Footwear Distributors, imports, manufactures and sells clothing, linen and footwear. Maharaj’s company also provides finance to other companies on a profit-share basis.
Who is Ashish Lata Ramgobin?
Ashish Lata Ramgobin worked at the NGO International Center for Nonviolence as a founder and executive director of the Participatory Development Initiative. She is the daughter of Ela Gandhi, a South African peace activist and was a Member of Parliament in South Africa from 1994 to 2004.