• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Powerful South African parliament speaker docked for bribery, granted but prosecutors insist she must surrender passport

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South African prosecutors on Thursday charged former National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula with corruption and money laundering, a day after she resigned following an inquiry into alleged graft during her time as defence minister.

She was granted bail by a court in the capital Pretoria shortly after the charges were made public. Mapisa-Nqakula, has denied any wrongdoing.

Mapisa-Nqakula, 67, whose residence was raided by investigators last month as part of the inquiry, had also resigned as a member of the parliament on Wednesday.

Lead prosecutor Bheki Manyathi told the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court that Mapisa-Nqakula was being charged with 12 counts of corruption and one of money laundering.

“The court is satisfied that the amount initially suggested (for bail) of 50,000 rand ($2,678) is adequate in this matter,” Magistrate Anna Oosthuizen said in a ruling. As part of bail conditions, Mapisa-Nqakula must surrender her passport.

The case will be back in court on June 4.
In an affidavit before the ruling, a lawyer for Mapisa-Nqakula argued that the former speaker was not a flight risk and that she voluntarily had come to court.

Mapisa-Nqakula earlier this week lost a court bid to prevent authorities from arresting her. She handed herself over to police earlier on Thursday before appearing in court.

A veteran of the governing African National Congress who was defence minister from 2012 to 2021, Mapisa-Nqakula is accused of receiving millions of rand in cash as bribes from a former military contractor.