Mahatma Gandhi’s Great-Granddaughter Jailed for 7 Years in South Africa Over Fraud

Mahatma Gandhi’s Great-Granddaughter Jailed for 7 Years in South Africa Over Fraud

Ashish Lata Ramgobin, the great-granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, has been sentenced to seven years in prison by the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court, South Africa. The Durban court further refused leave to appeal the conviction and sentence.

Ramgobin, 56, was accused of defrauding South African businessman SR Maharaj to the tune of 6.2 million Rand after seeking the money for clearing customs and import duties for a consignment of linen from India

Maharaj was promised a share in the profits. However, it was later discovered that there was no such consignment, leading Maharaj to bring criminal charges against Ramgobin. The trial against Ramgobin originally began in 2015. 

At the time, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said that she provided forged documents and invoices to trick investors into believing that three containers with linen were arriving from India. However, Ramgobin was later released on a bail of 50,000 Rand. 

The court received information on Monday that Ramgobin met with Maharaj in August 2015. Maharaj was the director of the New Africa Alliance Footwear Distributors at the time which produces and imports clothing, footwear, and linen for sale. This company also finances other companies through a profit-sharing scheme.

Subsequently, Ramgobin allegedly told Maharaj that she was importing three containers of linen for the South African hospital group, NetCare.

A spokesperson for the NPA, Natasha Kara explained, “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.”

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“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,” Kara added.

Ramgobin reportedly sent a confirmation from NetCare’s bank account showing that the payment was complete. Maharaj later realized that these documents were forged and NetCare had no such arrangements with Ramgobin. 

Being the daughter of well-known activists Ela Gandhi and late Mewa Ramgobind, Maharaj reportedly entered into a written agreement with Lata Ramgobin for the loan. 

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