Ace In The Dock, Fraud Trial Begins Tuesday

Suspended African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule will appear in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein on Tuesday to face fraud and corruption charges.

Covid-19 prevention protocols will be enforced when the matter of the state versus Elias Sekgobelo “Ace” Magashule and others is heard.

A pre-trial hearing on the matter was heard on 11 August 2021.

Magashule appeared in court for the first time on 13 November, last year and was indicted on 21 fraud and corruption charges.

The charges were described by the National Prosecuting Authority as serious when Magashule was applying for bail.

During his bail application, Magashule told the court that his salary as ANC secretary-general was R133 000 a month.

Magashule, who denies any wrongdoing, was released on R200 000 bail.

However, the ANC suspended Magashule over the matter after he refused to step aside. He took the matter to the high court and lost.

Last month the Johannesburg high court denied Magashule leave to appeal its earlier ruling in July that upheld his suspension. He remains suspended with full pay.

On Tuesday Magashule and several co-accused will be on trial for fraud and graft charges dating back to the time he was Free State premier.

The charges are linked to the multi-million rand asbestos scandal that goes back to 2014.

Back then, a joint venture between Edwin Sodi’s Blackhead Consulting and Igo Mpambani’s Diamond Hill Trading 74 scored deals worth R255-million to perform an audit of houses with asbestos roofs in the Free State.

Allegations are that most of the money was siphoned off and the real cost of the audit – outsourced to a third party – was said to be much lower.