Suspended ANC secretary-general and former Free State premier Ace Magashule could soon be facing more corruption charges.
According to an article published by Sunday World, the charges would involve Magashule and former Free State MEC for human settlements Mosebenzi Zwane, and relates to the R1 billion bogus Free State housing project a decade ago that cost the province millions.
Sunday World reports that former head of human settlements in the Free State, Mpho Mokoena, who was on Friday sentenced for corruption and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act relating to the housing graft, has now turned state witness.
In September last year, Mokoena told the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture that Magashule had communicated instructions through Zwane to him to pay certain preferred contractors for work that was never done.
Mokoena, who resigned from the department in December 2011, said the money, sometimes paid in cash, was meant to be withheld as a retention right but was paid to the contractors.
He said Zwane gave him a list of 106 contractors which would be awarded the housing construction contracts.
Human settlements in the Free State eventually paid a total of R631 million in 2010 and 2011 without receiving any value for money. Around 600 RDP houses were meant to be constructed with the money, but no houses were ever built.
The commission was told that by October 2010, the provincial human settlements department was underspending by less than 10% of the budget its national counterpart and Treasury had allocated for the R1 billion housing project.
State Capture commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said last year it was “highly concerning” that no one had been charged or arrested yet.
Asbestos tender case still looms
Magashule also faces corruption charges relating to a R255 million asbestos tender.
The case against him and his 15 co-accused involves over 70 charges, including theft, corruption and money laundering. Earlier this month, it was postponed to 2022.
The asbestos saga dates back to 2014, when the Free State human settlements department awarded a contract worth R255 million to Diamond Hill and Blackhead Consulting.
This was related to assessing asbestos in houses in the Free State, however, the work was never done despite money exchanging hands.
Magashule has maintained his innocent, and claimed the charges against him were politically orchestrated.
Compiled by Nica Richards.