Six suspects nabbed in Free State asbestos roofing scandal

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National Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi says a total of six people have now been arrested in connection with the asbestos roofing investigation – three in the Free State and three in Gauteng.

The Hawks says the suspects and their legal representatives are still in a meeting outside their offices in Bloemfontein. The suspects arrested in the Free State will appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says they have been investigating the suspects since 2019. The Hawks are still searching for others.

The Hawks and the SIU are still searching for two suspects they believe are linked to the Free State asbestos tender saga, currently under the spotlight at the State Capture Commission in Johannesburg.

The State Capture Commission is probing the R255 million contract awarded to a company by the Free State government for the eradication of asbestos in government houses.

Hawks make arrests:

In a multidisciplinary operation, the elite Crime Fighting Unit – the Hawks – had by midday swooped on suspects in two provinces. The Hawks have confirmed that two suspects have been arrested in the Free State and a third handed himself over to police. A further three suspects have been taken into custody in Johannesburg. Hawks spokesperson, Hangwani Mulaudzi, says some suspects are still at large.

“The operation is covering three province which are KZN, Free State and Gauteng, there are also five companies that are also going to be charged as well and all the suspects will appear in court on Friday in Bloemfontein. There is a warrant of arrest that has been issued against those suspects so if they are on the run it will have very serious implications when they apply for bail on Friday so it’s better for them to hand themselves over and it is better for them rather for them to run.”

The SIU’s Kaizer Kganyago say they have solid evidence against the accused.

“The SIU started investigating this matter sometime in 2019 and then we were working under proclamation 39 of 2019 which gave us powers to investigate this matter. While we were doing that we saw a lot of criminality and we roped in the Hawks immediately so that we started working together and we then came to this point where we are in the same operation where they are the ones arresting because we don’t have arresting powers and we are now supporting them with the evidence we have got out of that investigation.”

Kganyago says their investigations into the matter are still ongoing and more arrests are on the cards.