The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the Free State says the conviction of former bodyguard of African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule serves as a warning to officials who abuse the trust that is placed in them that no one is above the law.
The NPA’s statement comes after 43-year-old Ricardo Mettler was found guilty of stealing the multi-million rand Pierneef painting from the Free State government headquarters in Bloemfontein in 2018.
The Hawks investigation revealed that Mettler stole the valuable painting and handed it over to a businessman, who then took a piece to be evaluated.
Free State NPA Spokesperson Phaladi Shuping says they welcome the verdict.
“Ricardo Mettler was found guilty of theft, fraud and money laundering and making a false statement under oath. The charges relate to a Pierneef painting that he stole from the offices of the Premier in Bloemfontein. He was remanded in custody after his conviction and the case was postponed to 15 December,” explains Shuping.