Ace Magashule appears in court on corruption charges, granted bail - NPA

Authority says former Premier directed that various payments be made by company


Former Free State Premier Sekgobelo Elias "Ace" Magashule (61) was released on R200 000 bail after he appeared briefly in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on 21 charges of corruption and fraud, alternatively theft and money laundering

The matter was postponed to 19 February 2021 for addition of at least three more accused persons on the chargesheet and to join Magashule with the rest of the accused. He was ordered to surrender his passport, he must inform the investigating team if he wishes to travel abroad and not to be in contact with any witnesses particularly his former secretary, Moroadi Cholota. In this regard, he may not, directly or through third parties, make any contact with her.

This follows the appearance of Johannesburg businessman and owner of Blackhead Consulting (Pty), Pheagane Edwin Sodi (47), head of department of Free State Human Settlements (FSDoHS), Nthimotse Mokhesi (61); Director Supply Chain Management at the FSDoHS, Mahlomola John Matlakala (42); Fourways businessman, Sello Joseph Radebe (56); Pretoria businessman, Abel Kgotso Manyeki (38); former Director-General of National Department of Human Settlements, Thabane Wiseman Zulu (53); and a former Free State MEC for Human Settlements and former Mayor of Mangaung, Sarah Matawana Mlamleli (63).

The seven were also arrested by members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), the Hawks, in the Free State, Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng. This is subsequent to an investigation that was initiated by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) which referred the matter to the NPA and the Hawks.

It is alleged that various payments were made by FSDoHS to Diamond Hill Trading 71-Blackhead JV which Phikolomzi Mpambani and Sodi were the account holders. This is after the company was appointed by Mokhesi as a service provider on a contract of R 255 000 000.00. Mpambani was murdered in Johannesburg in 2017.

It is alleged that in August 2015, Magashule corruptly accepted gratification of R 53 550-00, paid on his request towards the tuition fees of the daughter of a then acting judge from Mpambani. It is further alleged that in June 2015 Magashule, accepted payment of R 470 000-00, paid on his request to M — TAG Systems for the acquisition of 200 Electronic tablets from Mpambani.

Furthermore, it is alleged that in June 2015 Magashule accepted a payment of R 30 000-00, paid on his request to S W C Nkate from Mpambani. Between November 2015 and January 2016, a payment of R 250 000-00, on his request, was made by Mpambani to Astra Travel towards travel expenses of a delegation to Cuba.

It is further alleged that Magashule failed to report corrupt transactions in contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004.

This is part of a criminal investigation by the Free State members of the Hawks, the Free State Office of the DPP and other NPA like the SCCU and the AFU into allegations of fraud to the value of R255 million was committed in the appointment of Blackhead Consultants for the "assessment and removal of asbestos roofs and/or housing".

The investigations are complete not only for Mgashule but all the 13 accused. We expect at least three more suspects to be arrested and added to the charge. On the next court appearance the matter will be transferred to the High Court because the investigations are done and we are ready for trial.

Statement issued by the NPA, 13 November 2020