NPA claims victory after court dismisses challenges to R255m asbestos tender case

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Ace Magashule.
Ace Magashule.
Mlungisi Louw

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has welcomed a judgment by the Free State High Court dismissing applications by the accused in the Free State asbestos tender scam case.

The court dismissed all the accused's interlocutory applications with costs. 

Challenges had been brought by suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, businessman Edwin Sodi and others over various aspects.

Magashule claimed there was no validity to the State's case against him, as his arrest was influenced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Defence attorneys told News24 they were not aware of the ruling.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement: "The NPA welcomes the judgment and will now focus on ensuring that the pretrial conference is concluded on the next court date so that a trial date can be arranged.

READ | Ace Magashule's sons cleared after SIU probe into PPE tenders

"We have always maintained that all the matters raised by the accused should be ventilated by the trial court when the trial proceedings commence. The NPA has full confidence in the strength of its case and will let the evidence speak for itself during the trial."

Magashule, Sodi and their co-accused have been charged with fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering, among other charges, linked to a R255 million contract for the assessment and removal of asbestos from roofs and/or housing in some of the Free State's poorest areas.

That 2014 contract, the State alleged, would be defined by rent-seeking and corruption and would ultimately result in two subcontracted companies being paid R21 million to do the work, which was never actually completed. The rest of the money was allegedly pocketed by the accused.


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