Man to appear in court for allegedly stealing Pierneef painting from Free State premier's office

2020-02-03 21:26
The Pierneef painting. (Image via Twitter)

The Pierneef painting. (Image via Twitter)

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A 42-year-old man has been subpoenaed to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court next month on charges of theft and fraud relating to the Pierneef painting that was reportedly stolen from the Free State premier's office in 2018.

The painting, by renowned South African landscape artist Jacobus Pierneef, was allegedly stolen in March 2018 and taken to an auctioneer's firm in Gauteng to determine the value and be auctioned.

The painting, which was valued at approximately R8m, was later seized at the auctioneers by the Hawks.

READ| Ace Magashule and the R8m Pierneef painting: Hawks hand docket to NPA for decision

On Monday, Hawks spokesperson Lynda Steyn said the National Prosecuting Authority had taken the decision to prosecute the suspect who had not been named until he made his first appearance in court on March 4.

The suspect will be charged in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, making false statements in an affidavit and contravening the National Heritage Resources Act.

The Daily Maverick, which exposed the theft, reported the painting was stolen when former Free State premier Ace Magashule was vacating his office to assume his new role as the ANC's secretary-general.

The publication alleged Magashule was directly implicated in the alleged theft.

READ MORE| Ace Magashule 'gives away' Pierneef painting worth more than R6m

A former member of Magashule's security detail reportedly told the Daily Maverick the painting was mistakenly given to him by Magashule as he was helping the former premier clean out his office. He reportedly said this was an "honest mistake", and the artwork was accidentally placed among Magashule's things.

The artwork was then allegedly passed on to a Bloemfontein businessman who reportedly took it to an auction house to have it valued.

The auction house was reportedly concerned about the painting's origins and called in Pierneef experts to try to locate the painting's true owner. Provincial government officials were alerted during this process.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  crime
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