Mahatma Gandhi’s great granddaughter has been jailed for seven years in a six-million rand (Rs 3.22 crore) fraud and forgery case in South Africa. Ashish Lata Ramgobin, the 56-year-old great-granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, was sentenced by a Durban court after she was found guilty in the fraud case.
She has been accused of defrauding businessman SR Maharaj, director of the New Africa Alliance Footwear Distributors whom she met in August 2015.
He advanced R6.2 million to her for allegedly clearing import and Customs duties for a non-existent consignment from India. Maharaj was promised a share of profits. She convinced him by showing a signed purchase order for the goods.
She told Maharaj that she had imported three containers of linen for the South African Hospital Group NetCare and 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. Later that month, she sent him a so called NetCare invoice and delivery note as proof that the goods were delivered and payment was impending.
Maharaja later laid criminal charges upon finding that the documents were forged. But she was also refused leave to appeal both the conviction and the sentence by the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court
Lata Ramgobin is the daughter of noted rights activists Ela Gandhi and late Mewa Ramgobind. She 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 a focus on environmental, societal and political interests."
Lata Ramgobin was released on a bail of 50,000 rand.