The 56-year-old great-granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, Ashish Lata Ramgobin, 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 after being found guilty 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.
At that time, Lata Ramgobin was released on a bail of 50,000 rand.
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.
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.”