The controversial asbestos fraud case in which the Free State government was reportedly swindled out of R250 million has been transferred to the Free State High Court for trial.
This high-profile matter, in which top politicians and government officials stand accused, is set to commence on 11 August.
The number of persons implicated, in addition to former premier Ace Magashule, has increased to ten following the arrest of three officials on Wednesday (17/02).
The trio is Nozipho Molikoe, Thabiso Makepe and Albertus Venter. They were released on R50 000 bail each and handed over their passports.
The accused briefly appeared in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Friday.
The seven other accused are: Pheagane Edwin Sodi (owner of Blackhead Consulting), Mahlomola John Matlakala (director of supply chain management in the provincial Department of Human Settlements), Sello Joseph Radebe (Fourways businessman), Abel Kgotso Manyeki (Pretoria businessman), Thabane Wiseman Zulu (former director-general of the national Department of Human Settlements), Olly Mlamleli (former mayor of the Mangaung Metro Municipality and MEC for the Department of Human Settlements) and Nthimotse Mokhesi (head of the Department of Human Settlements).
The five companies implicated are: Blackhead Consulting, Diamond Hill Trading 71, 605 Consulting Solutions, Mastertrade 232 and the Ori Group.
Mokhesi’s warrant of arrest has been extended until the next court appearance. He did not reappear in court on Friday, reportedly due to medical reasons.
The three accused most recently added to the list served in the provincial Department of Human Settlements until 2017. Molikoe was chief financial officer from 1 December 2015 to 31 March 2017, Makepe was the chief engineer of the department from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2017 and Venter was a lawyer and head of cooperative administration in the Free State Office of the Premier during the era of Magashule.