John Block in custody

2010-11-05 07:26

Northern Cape ANC leader John Block late last night lost a high court bid for freedom, hours after being ordered to be held in custody until Tuesday.

Block was arrested with eight others, including Intaka Holdings owner Gaston Savoi, yesterday morning in connection with R112-million tender fraud related to the purchase of water purification equipment from Intaka at inflated prices in 2005 and 2006.

The nine were charged with fraud, corruption, money laundering and under the Public Finance Management Act.

While seven of the accused were granted bail in the Kimberley Magistrates Court yesterday, Block and Savoi were denied bail and ordered to be held in custody until Tuesday when a formal bail hearing would be held.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the seven-day postponement had been requested by National Director of Public Prosecutions Menzi Simelane, who was personally prosecuting the case.

Mhaga said there was a possibility further charges could be brought against Block, who is a director in Savoi’s Intaka Northern Cape and the province’s MEC for finance, economic development and tourism.

Block’s legal team late last night brought an urgent application in the Kimberley High Court for his immediate release.

Mhaga said Block’s legal representative argued that the Magistrate had erred in not granting him bail. The judge postponed a ruling on the application until he was able to study the transcripts of the magistrates court proceedings. Block remains behind bars.

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