By Thys Khiba
Bloemfontein – The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State province confirmed that they will closely monitor the trial of the former Premier of the province and suspended African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General, Ace Magashule that is expected to commence tomorrow, 11 August 2021 in Bloemfontein.
The allegations relate to a contract that was awarded through a procurement process that was done in a ‘fraudulent and corrupt’ manner.
“While the trial takes place, six years after the corrupt asbestos contract was first exposed by the DA, 32 500 families still live under life-threatening asbestos roofs in the province,” said DA Free State Spokesperson on Human Settlements, Leona Kleynhans.
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.
Magashule faces at least 74 charges of fraud, corruption and money-laundering in the Free State High Court, together with fifteen others, including the former Mayor of Mangaung, Olly Mlamleli.
According to Kleynhans, the DA believes that the suspended ANC Secretary General was not only criminally negligent in his duty to report the corrupt contract to law enforcement agencies, but allegedly also personally received or directed payments of at least R1.1 million from one of the contractors, Igo Mpambani, who was later assassinated under mysterious circumstances.
“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 Kleynhans.
The biggest opposition party said they are satisfied that the accused will be brought to justice and that the allegations will be tested before a competent court.
Meanwhile, The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said, via their interview with the SABC, it has not received papers from Magashule, despite reports that he has approached the High Court to try and compel the NPA to disclose the full indictment in his corruption case.
“I can confirm that the prosecution team has not received any application or papers filed by Mr Magashule in respect of the matter of the asbestos. We will be proceeding on the 11th of August with the pre-trial conference after which hopefully we will get a date set for the trial to resume,” said NPA Spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga.
At the time of publishing this article, Free State Central News couldn’t get the views of Magashule’s legal representatives nor spokesperson.
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