Home South African Corruption accused Ace Magashule granted R200 000 bail

Corruption accused Ace Magashule granted R200 000 bail

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The magistrate said his decision to allow Magashule out on bail was that he had been convinced that he was not a flight risk and that he would not interfere with witnesses.

ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ANA

ANC SECRETARY-general Ace Magashule has been granted bail of R200 000 by the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Magashule appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering related to an R255 million Free State asbestos audit project tender.

The State did not oppose bail and asked that Magashule hand over his passport, which he has, and that he be warned not to interfere with State witnesses.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) also asked that bail be set at R250 000 because of the seriousness of the charges.

The magistrate agreed with the request but lowered the bail fee to R200 000, as Magashule said that he was unable to afford the hefty fee because his salary was only R133 000 as the SG of the ANC.

He also told the court he has R700 000 in movable assets and does not have any non-movable assets in his name.

The magistrate said his decision to allow Magashule out on bail was that he had been convinced that he was not a flight risk and that he would not interfere with witnesses.

He reiterated that his decision was not based on agreements between the State and Magashule’s lawyers.

Magashule’s next appearance will be on February 19, 2021, where he will appear with his other co-accused including businessman Edwin Sodi.

The State said the Free State asbestos case would be finalised soon and that the case would likely be moved to the High Court.

Lawrence Hodes SC representing Magashule said his client denied the charges against him and that he never benefited from corruption.

The R255 million Free State asbestos contract was reported during the Zondo commission.

Sodi’s company Blackhead Consulting and its joint-venture partner Diamond Hill, owned now deceased businessman Ignatious Mpambani, were awarded the contract in 2014.

In evidence presented at the commission, it was revealed that the contract was subcontracted twice and the final company which performed the asbestos audit did so for just over R20 million.

Magashule was implicated in the deal and his former personal assistant faced questions at the inquiry over requests for payments that she made to Mpambani on behalf of Magashule.

The former assistant Moroadi Cholota has been confirmed as a state witness.

It is unclear whether Magashule will address his hundreds of supporters who have been marching outside the court since Thursday night.