Crime & courts

Gandhi’s great-granddaughter jailed for seven years for fraud

Ashish Lata Ramgobin, Mahatma Gandhi’s great-granddaughter who is serving a seven-year sentence at Westville Prison for swindling a local businessman of R6.2 million, is not giving up.

 

The 52-year-old is applying for leave to appeal her conviction and sentence in the Durban High Court after the presiding magistrate at the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court dismissed her application.

Ramgobin’s mom, Ela Gandhi, who is a human rights activist and founder of the Gandhi Development Trust, said her daughter was positive and trying to stay strong.

 

“Since the magistrate refused her application, her lawyers are applying for leave to appeal to the high court. My daughter is strong, we stand behind her and are supporting her.

 

“We, as a family, are coping under the circumstances and my daughter is also trying to cope.”

Gandhi said she was yet to visit Ramgobin in prison but other family members had seen her.

 

Gandhi said she was unable to comment further until the matter was finalised.

 

In 2015, the Hawks arrested Ramgobin for fraud and a second charge of forgery and uttering. According to Wikipedia, forgery creates a falsified document and uttering is the act of knowingly passing on or using the forged document. In November last year, she was found guilty on all charges.

 

Ramgobin ran a company called Global Services. In August 2015, she met businessman Shailendra Maharaj, the director of New Africa Alliance Footwear Distributors (NAAFD).

 

The company is an importer, manufacturer and wholesaler of clothing, linen and footwear. It also provides finance to companies in return for a share of the profits.

 

It emerged in court that Ramgobind told Maharaj she had won a R20m contract to supply the Netcare group with bedsheets and pillows. She had imported three containers of linen from India for the contract.

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