The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says that suspended African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule is trying to delay the corruption case against him.
This is after Magashule filed papers at the Bloemfontein High Court to force the NPA to disclose the list of witnesses that implicate him in the R255 million asbestos case.
Magashule has also asked the court to declare that the state has no case against him. He said the trial was being used to “neutralise” his political career and labelled it a “smear campaign”.
Free State director of public prosecutions Navilla Somaru, however, said Magashule was avoiding having to plead to the charges he faces.
“This course of conduct is designed with the intent to delay the criminal trial, and avoid Magashule having to plead to the numerous charges he is indicted for,” she said.
Magashule is facing charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering over the awarding of tenders to remove asbestos from houses in the Free State.
The state claims that because Magashule was Free State premier at the time, he had executive authority in the province.
List of witnesses
Somaru also said a list of all the witnesses in the case had been given to Magashule, TimesLIVE reports. She said the state does not have to specify which witnesses will testify against Magashule.
Somaru also disputed Magashule’s claim that there was no evidence against him. She said there was a list of specific payments that are of an allegedly corrupt nature.
“Since the payments were made at the instruction of Magashule, or at least were requested in his knowledge, there is a case for him to meet,” she said.
More corruption charges
Magashule could soon be facing more corruption charges, according to an article in Sunday World. The charges relate to the R1 billion bogus Free State housing project a decade ago that cost the province millions.
Sunday World reported that former head of human settlements in the Free State, Mpho Mokoena, who was sentenced for corruption and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act relating to the housing graft, has turned state witness.
Mokoena told the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture that Magashule had communicated instructions through former Free State MEC for human settlements, Mosebenzi Zwane, to him to pay certain contractors for work that was never done.