3 senior government officials arrested over R255m asbestos project

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(Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Tiro Ramatlhatse)
(Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Tiro Ramatlhatse)
  • The Hawks have arrested three more people in connection with the R255 million asbestos audit corruption case.
  • Captain Christopher Singo said the government officials were arrested on Thursday.
  • The allegations relate to the investigation into a contract to audit which houses in the Free State needed asbestos removed. 

The Hawks have arrested three more people in connection with the R255 million asbestos audit corruption case.

Captain Christopher Singo said the government officials were arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning.

"The allegations relate to a contract that was awarded through a procurement process that was done in a fraudulent and corrupt manner. The contract was meant to identify and remove asbestos roofs in the Free State province," he said.

"During that period, the department incurred unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure worth over R255 million."

They are expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on Friday.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule is also due in court for the same matter on Friday, along with a group of people arrested previously.

They appeared in court last year and the matter was postponed to add more accused to the case. 

It is alleged that, in 2014, two companies were appointed – one of which was Gauteng-based Blackhead Consulting – as service providers to the Department of Human Settlements in the Free State.

The two companies then allegedly subcontracted two other companies, one of which did the work for R21 million.

The rest of the money was allegedly pocketed by the accused and, despite millions being used on the project, the asbestos had still not been removed, according to testimony at the state capture commission of inquiry.

Fellow accused in the matter include former Mangaung mayor Olly Mlamleli, Free State human settlements head Nthimotse Mokhesi, supply chain officer Mahlomola Matlakata, Blackhead Consulting director Edwin Sodi, Sello Joseph Radebe, director of ORI Group Abel Kgotso Manyeki, and former Msunduzi municipal manager Thabane Zulu.

The appearances of Magashule in court is usually marked by a large group of supporters. 

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