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South Africa: Ex-speaker of parliament appears in court, charged with corruption

The former South African speaker of parliament was arrested on Thursday over allegations that she received about $135,000 in bribes, in the latest corruption scandal to face the governing African National Congress party.

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula turned herself in to police in the capital, Pretoria, on Thursday and was taken to Pretoria Magistrates Court, where she was released on 50,000 rand ($2,670) in bail.

She was charged with 12 counts of corruption and one count of money laundering.
Mapisa-Nqakula maintained her innocence and suggested the charges against her were politically motivated with the country set to hold national elections later this year.

The developments follow weeks of controversy over allegations that Mapisa-Nqakula received 11 cash payments from a defense contractor when she was minister of defense between 2016 and 2019.

Her Johannesburg home was raided by law enforcement officials, and she was informed that the state intended to charge her with 12 counts of corruption and money laundering.

She resigned as speaker of parliament and as a lawmaker days after failing in a court bid to block her arrest.

She told the court on Thursday that she was not a flight risk and would have a lot to lose by evading her trial, including her state pension and access to her Johannesburg-based children.

Prosecutors did not oppose Mapisa-Nqakula’s application for bail.

Her case has been postponed to June 4, with prosecutors saying they plan to add another defendant.


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