John Block fails in another bid to avoid prison

Northern Cape ANC leader John Block failed on Friday in yet another high court bid for freedom, a day after being sent to prison by the same court, the National Prosecuting Authority said.

“In his application to the high court, he said that the magistrate’s court erred in not entertaining his bail application,” NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.

The judge found there was no basis to Block’s claims and dismissed the application.

On Thursday night, Block lost a bid for freedom in the Kimberley High Court, hours after being ordered to be held in custody.

The judge on Thursday postponed a ruling on the application until Tuesday when he would have studied the transcripts of the magistrate’s court proceedings.

“This is part of an aggressive stance that we are taking against such cases,” Mhaga said, commending the prosecutors who successfully opposed Block’s release.

Block was arrested with eight others, including Intaka Holdings owner Gaston Savoi, on Thursday morning—in connection with R112-million tender fraud related to the purchase of water purification equipment from Intaka at inflated prices in 2005 and 2006.

The nine were charged with fraud, corruption, money laundering and charges under the Public Finance Management Act.

While seven of the accused were granted bail in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, Block and Savoi were denied bail and ordered to be held in custody until November 9 when a formal bail hearing would be held.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the seven-day postponement had been requested by national director of public prosecutions advocate Menzi Simelane, who was personally prosecuting the case.

Mhaga said there was a possibility further charges could be brought against Block, who is a director in Savoi’s Intaka Northern Cape and the province’s minister for finance, economic development and tourism. - Sapa

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