By Thys Khiba
Bloemfontein – The asbestos corruption case of the African National Congress (ANC) Ace Magashule has been postponed to the 19th October 2021.
The contract was meant to identify and remove asbestos roofs in the Free State province. During that period the department incurred unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure worth at least R255m.
It come out during the proceedings that some of the accused had appointed new legal counsel who were not furnished with copies of the voluminous docket. In addition, one of the accused, Abel Manyike, had applied for legal aid.
This is after Magashule, former Mayor of Mangaung, Olly Mlamleli, businessman Edwin Sodi and former human settlements department head Nthimotse Mokhesi and 12 co-accused appeared in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein on Wednesday for a pretrial conference.
It was also announced that the other reason for the postponement, was that the State had not submitted notices in terms of Section 212(B) of the Criminal Procedure Act, which usually contain facts that are not in dispute.
Meanwhile, Judge Cagney Musi said that he would not be able to give a trial date until the notices were filed and dealt with.
The allegations relate to a contract that was awarded through a procurement process that was done in a ‘fraudulent and corrupt’ manner.
The court also learnt that two applications would be brought – one relating to the admissibility of evidence heard in relation to the asbestos case at the State Capture Inquiry and another on whether Magashule’s former personal assistant, Moroadi Cholota, is a State witness.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) said that they are satisfied that the accused will be brought to justice and that the allegations will be tested before a competent court.
“It remains clear that this contract was intended purely to misappropriate R255 million from the coffers of the Department of Human Settlements, and into the hands of various contractors and politicians,” said DA Free State Spokesperson on Human Settlements, Leona Kleynhans.
DO YOU HAVE A NEWS STORY OR AN OPINION FOR FREE STATE CENTRAL NEWS: E-mail us : firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp us on 083 398 9119