Former Free State MEC Olly Mlamleli. Picture: Supplied
Former Free State MEC Olly Mlamleli. Picture: Supplied

Former Free State MEC Olly Mlamleli fights asbestos case restraint order

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Nov 17, 2021

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Johannesburg - Former Free State cooperative governance, traditional affairs and human settlements MEC and erstwhile Mangaung mayor Olly Mlamleli wants the provisional restraint order granted against her rescinded or reconsidered.

Mlamleli, who is facing fraud and money laundering charges in relation to the R255 million asbestos roofs eradication project, has asked the Free State High Court to set aside the provisional restraint order granted in favour of National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca).

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) obtained the provisional restraint order in September 2020 and it was made final last November, and PwC South Africa director Gerhard Geldenhuys was appointed curator bonis to seize and administrate the assets until the matter is finalised.

Mlamleli is accused of acting in common purpose with the other defendants who include controversial businessman Edwin Sodi, former head of the Free State human settlements department Nthimotse Mokhesi, former director-general of the national human settlements department Thabane Zulu and the wives of some of the accused in the criminal matter and may, on reasonable grounds, be convicted of the offences preferred against her.

Among the politicians criminally charged in this matter is suspended ANC secretary-general and former Free State premier Ace Magashule, who is not cited in the restraint application.

The NPA has also indicated that the benefit Mlamleli received was retaining her position as the MEC.

In her application, which was heard in August by Judge Pitso Molitsoane, Mlamleli argued that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that a confiscation order may be made against her in the subsequent criminal case.

She insists that she never derived, received or retained any property, service, advantage, benefit or reward from the alleged offences.

The NPA accuses her of aligning herself with the unlawful activities of Sodi’s Blackhead Consulting and others who assisted to perpetrate the unlawful and fraudulent scheme and enabled the commission of fraud, corruption and money laundering.

In his ruling on November 2, Judge Molitsoane found that “the issue whether the applicant (Mlamleli) received a benefit for the purposes of Poca raises a triable issue that may decide the fate of the restraint order and that she has shown that she has a bona fide (good faith) defence worthy of adjudication“.

Judge Molitsoane rescinded and set aside the order made final in November last year but extended the provisional restraint order against Mlamleli until next Thursday.

This was after she complained to the court that the restraint order was confirmed in her absence and that of her then lawyers.

The judge ordered Mlamleli to file her heads of argument by November 10 and the NPA and Geldenhuys to file theirs by Friday this week.

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Political Bureau

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