ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule and Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi have reportedly been dragged into a high-profile R5mn bribery and murder investigation currently playing out in the Bloemfontein High Court.
Eight men – among them a Bloemfontein businessman, police officers, a soldier and a lawyer – are facing a raft of charges, including murder, conspiracy to murder and defeating the ends of justice, for the death of businessman Louis Siemens in May last year, City Press reported.
The newspaper reported that on the eve of the trial, which started Monday, a letter classified as “top secret” and authored by provincial counter-intelligence revealed the extent of the probe into high-level corruption in the province.
The confidential letter, which City Press says it has seen, cites “the former provincial premier and a serving national minister” as being persons of interest in the investigation into Siemens’ killing.
It further reports that law enforcement sources told the paper that the former premier and minister cited in the letter are Magashule and Motsoaledi.
Both their names also reportedly appear in affidavits deposed to by accused parties and witnesses as part of the probe into the R5mn bribery scandal, which led to the hit on Siemens.
In an affidavit signed in September, the provincial health department’s former legal services director, Justice Finger, claimed he had been told by a friend that Magashule had been paid R5 million to facilitate the approval of a licence for CityMed Day Hospital – of which Siemens was chief executive officer and shareholder.
Bloemfontein businessman Stanley Bakili, who is accused of masterminding Siemens’ murder, has also claimed in a sworn statement that he bribed Motsoaledi, who was health minister at the time, with R154 000.
The alleged bribe was to facilitate the expeditious approval of Siemens’ private hospital licence application for the CityMed hospital.
Motsoaledi has vehemently denied the allegations, saying he had neither met nor spoken to Bakili.
“I vehemently deny the claim that I received monies from Mr Bakili. This is an absolute lie. I challenge anyone who has evidence, documentary or otherwise, to produce it and share it with law-enforcement agents so that the law can take its course,” said an angry Motsoaledi.
“In fact, if any competent court or authority can arrive at a finding that I received bribe money from this gentleman, or from any other person for that matter, I will resign from my job as a minister with immediate effect.”
City Press said when they contacted Magashule for comment last Thursday, he opted to issue a public statement rather than answer questions.
In his statement, he described the intelligence report as fake news “that is being peddled against me in order to tarnish my dignity and reputation in a coordinated and concerted effort.”
Magashule said he was appalled that “state resources are being used for factional political battles when they are supposed to be used in the fight against crime”, and vowed not to take this matter “lying down.”
He added that he had instructed his attorneys to lodge a complaint with the police’s top brass and the office of the inspector-general of intelligence.