South Africa’s Parliament Speaker Accused of Accepting $135,000 and a Wig in Bribes

South African prosecutors said Monday they want to charge the Parliament speaker with corruption, alleging she accepted $135,000 and a wig in bribes over three years as defence minister.

Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has not been detained or charged. The prosecutors testified at a court hearing on her claims that authorities did not adequately tell her of the allegations or follow the right procedure.

The judge was likely to issue a stay of arrest later Monday.

Prosecutors allege Mapisa-Nqakula received 11 payments totaling $135,000 between December 2016 and July 2019. She asked for another bribe of $105,000, but it was not paid, according to investigators.

According to the papers, Mapisa-Nqakula was given more than $15,000 and a wig during a meeting at the country’s principal international airport in February 2019.

The person reportedly paying the bribes was not identified.

Prosecutors permitted her to turn herself in at a police station and be transported to court to face formal charges. They stated they would not oppose her bail.

Mapisa-Nqakula has denied wrongdoing and stated that she will cooperate with police after they searched her Johannesburg home and confiscated evidence last week.

She has taken a leave of absence from her position as Parliament Speaker. She had previously been suspected of accepting bribes, but a parliamentary probe was abandoned in 2021. According to prosecutors, the case resurfaced after a whistleblower spoke out last year.

Her case is the latest graft scandal to slam the ruling African National Congress party, which is holding a crucial national election on May 29.

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