A warrant of arrest has been issued for ANC secretary-general and former Free State premier Ace Magashule.
Magashule is expected to be arrested and appear in court on Friday morning, in connection with his role in the controversial Free State asbestos audit project.
Free State Hawks spokesperson, Lynda Steyn confirmed to The Citizen that the warrant has been signed and will be served on Magashule on Friday morning, after an investigation by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Unit.
Magashule is the latest in a string of political heavyweights in the Free State that have been linked to the controversial project, which saw a joint venture between Edwin Sodi’s Blackhead Consulting and the late Igo Mpambani’s Diamond Hill Trading74 being paid R225 million to audit the prevalence of asbestos in the province’s homes in 2014.
The companies had to identify and remove asbestos from houses across the Free State, but despite their large paydays, only work amounting to R21 million was done, while residents currently continue to live in houses with asbestos roofs.
Seven other suspects were released on bail ranging between R50,000 and R500,000 in October after appearing in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.
Sodi, Free State human settlements department head Nthimotse Mokhesi, businessman Sello Radebe, former director-general of the national Department of Human Settlements Thabane Zulu, former provincial human settlements MEC Sarah “Olly” Mlamleli, Free State human settlements supply chain manager director Mahlamola Matlakela and businessman Abel Manyeki face more than 60 counts of fraud, theft, corruption and money laundering.
At the beginning of October, rumours swirled of Magashule’s apparent impending arrest by the Hawks. The unit denied this and “categorically distanced” itself from the rumours.
This is a developing story.