A 56-year-old great-granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, who was an accused in a six-million rand fraud and forgery case, has been sentenced to seven years in jail by a Durban court.
Ashish 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.
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.
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 and sells clothing, linen and footwear.
Maharaj’s company also provides finance to other companies on a profit-share basis.
Ramgobin is the daughter of renowned human rights activist Ela Gandhi and Mewa Ramgobind, who have both played instrumental roles in reviving the Phoenix Settlement established by Mahatma Gandhi during his tenure in South Africa.
A founder and Executive Director of the Participative Development Initiative at the NGO International Centre for Non-Violence, Ramgobin described herself as “an activist with a focus on environmental, societal and political interests.”