Free State DA MPL Leona Kleinhans speaking to the media outside Bloemfontein High Court on Friday, Pic: DA

As if that wasn't enough, one of the suspects added another crime to his indictment, bribing  police to buy him food and a cell phones and then smuggled them into his holding cell.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman, Sipho Ngwema said on Friday that police had opened a case against the suspect.

"The suspect had a lot of money in his holding cell and persuaded police, in exchange for cash to buy him food and a mobile phone and smuggle it into his cell," Ngwema said.

One of the suspects, Edwin Sodi, whose company, Blackhead is involved in the R255 million asbestos tender corruption, appeared before the Bloemfontein High Court on Friday with six other suspects.

Among the suspects are head of the Free State Housing Department, supply chain officer Nthimotse Mokhesi, former director of human settlements, Mahlomola Matlakala, Thabane Zulu, former Mangaung Mayor Olly Mlamleli and Abel Monyeki.

They are facing more than 60 charges, including corruption, fraud, and money laundering, that violate the anti-corruption act and the public financial management act.

The suspects were released on bail between R50,000 and R500,000 and the case was postponed until November 11, pending further investigation.

"We are going to attach their movable and immovable assets, including houses and cars," said Ngwema.

Ngwema said there would be more arrests.

Free State MPL Leona Kleinhans said the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the appearance of suspects in connection with the Free State asbestos housing project scandal.

"Today, the DA feels relieved that a politician was arrested and charged in the Bloemfontein High Court for illegal payment of asbestos contracts. We believe that the wheel of justice will continue to turn to the political leaders who participated in the large-scale looting  during the tenure of  Premier Ace Magashule,” added Kleinhans.

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