Thursday, 01 October 2020 00:45

 

Photo Credit:Alon Skuy.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has exonerated former Free State premier Ace Magashule in her latest report into malfeasance during Magashule’s tenure.

Investigating a claim that Magashule violated the Executive Ethics Code by giving the Free State legislature false information, Mkhwebane concluded: "The allegation is unsubstantiated."

The complaint against Magashule was laid by Free State DA MPL Roy Jankielsohn, who alleged that Magashule twice misled the provincial legislature in written responses to questions.

The briefing, addressed by Mkhwebane and her deputy, advocate Kholeka Gcaleka, saw the release of 14 reports including one on Magashule and one on UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and the PIC.

Mkhwebane said the first complaint against Magashule related to the involvement of the office of the premier in the funeral arrangements of the late health MEC Fundiswa Ngubentombi, while the second concerned a forensic report in connection with the appointment of Letlaka Communications by the office of the premier.

"My investigation revealed that the former premier did not blatantly mislead the legislature in his reply concerning the involvement of his office in the funeral arrangements as well as the commitment by his office to ensure that the provincial government refunds the municipality. The allegation is unsubstantiated,"Mkhwebane said.

On the second complaint, she found that Magashule did not mislead the provincial legislature by denying any knowledge of a report by JGL Forensic Services as well as the recommendation of the minister of finance.

Meanwhile Businessman Edwin Sodi, who appeared at the state capture commission on Tuesday, is among suspects to be arrested for the R255 million Free State asbestos project.

The Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) have arrested two suspects in the Free State already, and a total of seven suspects will be arrested.

Sodi told the state capture commission in August that his company didn’t have the expertise or accreditation to handle hazardous material. The director of Blackhead, a company that was appointed to audit asbestos houses in the Free State for R255 million, said he knew that no bidding process was done for the contract.

Sodi on Monday confirmed at the commission that his company received contracts in excess of R1 billion over 10 years and paid millions in that to housing and African National Congress (ANC) officials in various provinces but he denied that they were kickbacks.

The ANC’s secretary-general and former Free State premier, Ace Magashule, is among people who allegedly scored between R1 million and R10 million each from the Blackhead-Diamond Hill JV deal.