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South African Parliament Speaker receives $135,000 fraud charge

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Speaker of the South African Parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has denied allegations she took bribes over three years while defence minister.

Prosecutors said on Tuesday they were charging her with corruption, alleging she took $135,000 (£107,000) and a wig in bribes over a three-year period while she was defence minister.

But she has not been arrested.

The prosecutors spoke at a court hearing over her claims that authorities had not properly informed her of allegations or followed correct procedure.

The judge was expected to rule on a stay of arrest earlier on Monday.

In court papers submitted for the hearing, prosecutors say Mapisa-Nqakula received 11 payments totalling $135,000 between December 2016 and July 2019. She sought another bribe of $105,000 but that wasn’t paid, prosecutors said.

On one occasion in February 2019, Mapisa-Nqakula received more than $15,000 and a wig at a meeting at the country’s main international airport, the papers say.

The person who allegedly paid the bribes was not named.

Prosecutors gave her the opportunity to hand herself in at a police station and be taken to court to be formally charged. They said they would not oppose her bail.

She has taken a leave of absence from her role as speaker. She was previously accused of taking bribes, but a parliamentary investigation was dropped in 2021.

The case re-emerged after a whistleblower came forward last year, prosecutors said.

Her case is the latest corruption scandal to hit the ruling African National Congress party, which faces a pivotal national election on May 29.


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