South African President Cyril Ramaphosa gestures while standing next to...

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa gestures while standing next to Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, left, ahead of his state of the nation address at the City Hall in Cape Town on Feb. 8, 2024. A special investigations unit searched the home of South Africa's Speaker of Parliament on Tuesday March 19, 2024 and seized evidence as part of a probe into accusations that she accepted bribes in her previous role as defense minister. Credit: AP/Rodger Bosch

PRETORIA, South Africa — South African prosecutors said Monday they intend to charge the parliamentary speaker with corruption, alleging that she took $135,000 and a wig in bribes over a three-year period while she was defense minister.

Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula hasn't been arrested or charged. The prosecutors spoke at a court hearing over her claims that authorities hadn't properly informed her of allegations or followed correct procedure in their investigation.

Judge Sulet Potterill said that she would deliver a ruling on April 2 on Mapisa-Nqakula's application for a temporary block on police arresting her. Mapisa-Nqakula is also asking for access to documents outlining the evidence prosecutors have against her.

Prosecutors have rejected her request and say she is asking for special treatment.

In court papers submitted for the hearing, prosecutors say that Mapisa-Nqakula, 67, received 11 payments totaling $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 wasn't named.

National Prosecuting Authoritie's Adv. Machos Gwala in the High Court...

National Prosecuting Authoritie's Adv. Machos Gwala in the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday March 25, 2024. South African prosecutors say they intend to charge the Parliament speaker with corruption. They allege she took $135,000 and a wig in bribes from an unnamed person over a three-year period while she was defense minister. Credit: AP/Denis Farrell

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 wouldn't oppose her bail.

Mapisa-Nqakula has denied wrongdoing and had said she would cooperate with authorities after they searched her home in Johannesburg and seized evidence last week.

She has taken a leave of absence from her role as Parliament's speaker. She was previously accused of taking bribes, but a parliamentary investigation was dropped in 2021. The case reemerged after a whistleblower came forward last year, prosecutors said.

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

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