Ace Magashule case heading to High Court
Bloemfontein – ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s fraud and corruption case is heading to the Free State High Court following his brief appearance at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was ready to proceed with the matter but the defence of the 16 accused asked magistrate Mxolisi Saliwa to postpone the matter to August 11, when a pre-trial hearing will be held.
Magashule, who is accused number 13 in the matter, is charged alongside Free State human settlements department head Nthimotse Mokhesi; its supply chain management director, Mahlomola Matlakala; businessman Edwin Sodi and Sodi’s company, Blackhead Consulting; Diamond Hill Trading 71, whose owner Igo Mpambani was murdered in 2017; and 605 Consulting Solutions, which is Mpambani’s widow Michele Mpombani’s company.
Other accused are businessman Sello Radebe and his company, Mastertrade 232; ORI and its director, Abel Manyeki; former national human settlements director-general Thabane Zulu; as well as erstwhile Free State human settlements MEC and former Mangaung mayor Olly Mlamleli. Michele Mpambani is not among the accused.
Another three senior provincial government officials – provincial human settlements department chief financial officer Nozipho Molikoe; its project management unit director, Thabiso Makepe; and Albertus Venter, an attorney who was a senior official in Magashule’s office during his tenure as Free State premier – were added as accused in the matter following their arrests by the Hawks on Thursday.
Molikoe, Makepe and Venter, who earn between R88 000 and R98 000 a month, were each granted R50 000 bail by magistrate Saliwa.
The 16 accused are all out on bail of between R50 000 and R500 000 in Sodi’s case.
They are facing charges ranging from fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravening the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and the Public Finance Management Act in relation to the R255 million contract to audit houses that had asbestos roofs in the province.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said the investigation into the matter was done and that the multidisciplinary investigating team has done phenomenal work in two years.