About the multi-million Free State Asbestos scandal so far
Here is what you need to know about the multi million Free State asbestos project that got business owners and top government officials accused of corruption.
The R255m tender from the Free State department of human settlements was awarded in 2014 to audit and assess households in the province with asbestos roofing.
The tender was awarded to Blackhead Consulting and Diamond Hill Trading.
The joint venture later subcontracted it to Mastertrade 232 to do the audit.
Mastertrade, also proceeded to subcontract it to ORI Group to do the audit and assessment for R21.3m.
The owner of Diamond Hill Trading, Ignatius “Igo” Mpambani was murdered in broad daylight in June 2017 while driving down Sandton’s Bowling Avenue in a Bentley.
Investigation was launched into the tender matter when it was discovered that nothing had been done.
The former head of the human settlements department in the Free State, Nthimose Mokhesi stated that he did not know that Blackhead Consulting was not qualified to carry out the removal of asbestos roofing for low-cost housing units in the Free State in 2014
The state capture commission of inquiry resumed on 29 June 2020, after it took a break as a result of Covid-19 lockdown.
So far, seven people have been arrested in connection to the R225m Free State asbestos project.
The arrest was carried out by Hawks.
The accused in the corruption case were made up of top government officials and business owners as well as the director of Blackhead company.
On Friday, the seven appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court.
However, the court granted the seven bail ranging from R50,000 to R500,000.
Mahlomola John Matlakala, 42, director of supply chain management at the provincial human settlements department, and Abel Kgotso Manyeki, 38, a businessman from Clubview, Pretoria were released on R50,000 bail.
Blackhead director, Edwin Sodi was granted the highest bail of R500,000.
The other accused were granted bail of R100,000 each.
The court also ordered all the accused to surrender their passports.
The NPA on Friday also indicated that one of the suspect could get additional charges attempting to bribe an official while in police custody.
Their case returns to court on November 11.
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