NPA considering adding 3 more suspects in FS asbestos corruption case

Seven suspects made a brief appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Wednesday where the matter was postponed February next year.

FILE: The 7 suspects in the Free State asbestos removal project corruption case appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on 2 October 2020. Picture: Nthakoana Ngatane/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is exploring the possibility of adding three more suspects to the corruption case related to the multi-million-rand asbestos tender.

Seven suspects made a brief appearance in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on Wednesday where the matter was postponed to February next year.

The State is asking for time to conduct further investigations.

African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule is expected to appear in court in Bloemfontein on Friday in connection with the project.

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The seven suspects, which included government officials and top-end business owners, were granted bail ranging between R50,000 and R500,000.

They were charged with corruption, fraud, and the contravention of various asbestos regulations as laid out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The Free State government has come under fire after paying out R255 million rand to companies for the removal of asbestos from various homes in the province.

The transfers were approved even though no work had been done, with some of the beneficiaries found to have strong ties to the ANC.

The State is looking to have the matter transferred to a higher court as it works to tighten its case in the matter some belief will be a litmus test for the NPA.

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