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ANC lawmaker arrested on corruption charge - South Africa police

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A senior lawmaker for South Africa’s governing African National Congress party was arrested on Thursday on a corruption charge and released on bail after a court appearance, police said.

Bongani Bongo, a former state security minister under former president Jacob Zuma, is accused of interfering with an inquiry into corruption at state power utility Eskom, police spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi told Reuters.

Bongo allegedly asked the inquiry’s evidence leader to go on sick leave in 2017 to frustrate its progress and offered “an open cheque bribe”, Mulaudzi said.

Bongo, who was not immediately available for comment, chairs parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs.

The ANC chief whip’s office said in a statement that it would not comment in detail because it wanted to allow the law to take its course.

Bongo appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court and was released on bail of 5,000 rand ($338.70). He is due back in court on Jan. 31.

As part of Bongo’s bail conditions he must not travel abroad without informing investigators and must not interfere with witnesses, police and the ANC statement said.

Reporting by Alexander Winning, Editing by William Maclean