A 56-year-old great-granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, who was accused in six-million Rand and forgery case, has been sentenced to seen 7 years in jail by a Durban court.
Lata Ramgobin was found guilty by the court on Monday
She was accused of defrauding businessman SR Maharaj after he advanced R6.2 million to her for allegedly clearing import and Customs duties for a non-existent consignment from India. He was promised a share of profits.
Lata Ramgobin, who is the daughter of noted Rights activists Ela Gandhi and Late Mewa Ramgobind, was also refused leave to appeal both the conviction and the sentence by the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court.
When trial in the case 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.
She was accused of defrauding businessman SR Maharaj
On Monday, the court during the hearing was informed that Lata Ramgobin had met Maharaj, director of the New Africa Alliance Footwear Distributors, in August 2015. The company imports and manufactures then sells clothing linen and footwear. Maharaj’s company also provides finance to other companies on a profit share basis. Lata Ramgobin had told Maharaj that she had imported three containers of linen for the South African Hospital Group NetCare. However, after Maharaj found out that the documents were forged and NetCare had no arrangements with Lata Ramgobin, he laid criminal charges.
Ramgobin was founder and executive director of the Participative Development Initiative at the NGO International Centre for Non-Violence, where she described herself as “an activist with focus on environmental, societal and political interests.” Ramgobin’s mother Ela Gandhi in particular has been internationally recognised for the efforts, including national honours from both India and South Africa.