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S. African Former Speaker Accused of Graft, Released on Bail

PRETORIA (Reuters) – South African prosecutors charged former National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula with corruption and money laundering on Thursday, a day after she resigned following an investigation into corruption allegations when she was still Minister of Defense.

She was released on bail by a court in the capital Pretoria shortly after the charges were made public. Mapisa-Nqakula, has denied any wrongdoing. Mapisa-Nqakula, 67, who was raided by investigators last month as part of the probe, also resigned as an MP on Wednesday.

Twelve counts of corruption and one count of money laundering were brought against Mapisa-Nqakula, chief prosecutor Bheki Manyathi informed the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court.Judge Anna Oosthuizen’s ruling stated, “The court is satisfied that the originally proposed sum (for bail) of 50,000 rand ($2,678) was sufficient in this case.” Mapisa-condition Nqakula’s passport surrender as part of his bail requirements.

The case will return to court on June 4. In a pre-judgment statement, Mapisa-Nqakula’s lawyer argued that the former president was not a flight risk and had voluntarily appeared before the court. Mapisa-Nqakula earlier this week lost a court bid to stop authorities from arresting him.

She turned herself in to police on Thursday before appearing in court. A former member of the ruling African National Congress party and Defense Minister from 2012 to 2021, Mapisa-Nqakula is accused of receiving millions of rand in cash as bribes from a former military contractor .

“My resignation is not a sign or an admission of guilt regarding the allegations against me,” she said Wednesday. Prosecutors have not released details surrounding the charges or evidence against her. They did not object to his release on bail.($1 = 18.6677 rand) (Reporting by Siyabonga Sishi, Siphiwe Sibeko and Bhargav Acharya; Writing by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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