Ace Magashule's former PA 'visited by the FBI in the US'

Ace Magashule's former PA 'visited by the FBI in the US'

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) allegedly paid a visit to Ace Magashule's former secretary, Moroadi Cholota, in the US, as ongoing investigations into the pair's alleged involvement in the controversial R255m Free State asbestos scandal continues to unravel.

This is revealed in a letter — which TimesLIVE is in possession of — written by Magashule's attorney, Victor Nkhwashu, who previously represented Cholota when she appeared before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture to testify on December 6 last year.

In the letter — addressed to Hawks head Gen Godfrey Lebeya, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shamila Batohi and the NPA's investigating directorate head, Hermione Cronje — Nkhwashu alleges that Cholota was paid a visit by the FBI in the US where she is studying.

“We have also learnt that ... Ms Moroadi Cholota, whom we represented at the Zondo commission of inquiry, was visited by the FBI in the US where she is currently studying. We have further been instructed that this visit by the FBI ostensibly took place upon your request to them.”

Nkhwashu noted that his letter, dated October 17, was a follow-up to a previous letter sent to the NPA and Hawks on October 7 after reports that an arrest warrant had been issued for Magashule.

Nkhwashu expressed his dismay that his initial letter had drawn no response.

“This letter serves as a follow-up to our letter dated October 7 2020, for which we have only received an acknowledgment of receipt from both your offices. Our client has noted that the DPCI has issued a media statement in which they distanced themselves from any knowledge of an alleged warrant of arrest in respect of our client. Once again, the NPA and its ID section headed by Ms Hermione Cronje has in effect remained silent in response to our enquiry, merely having acknowledged receipt of our correspondence by the NPA’s communications officer but not having dealt with the substance of our previous letter.”

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He went on to explain that the purpose of letter was to notify both the NPA and Hawks that Magashule and Cholota would adhere to any lawful demands made by the state.

“This letter serves to notify you that should you have any intention of ensuring our clients’ attendance in any court of law, due regard being had to their constitutional rights, you are invited and requested to direct any such request to our offices and we undertake to ensure that our clients comply with any such lawful demands.”

Nkhwashu made it clear that he sees no reason in having either of his clients arrested when arrangements could be made for them to hand themselves over to authorities.

Click here for the latest news and analysis of the state capture inquiry

“Insofar as there may be an intention to effect any such arrest, we formally notify you that there is no lawful reason to arrest our clients. If they are lawfully required to hand themselves over to the authorities, we have been instructed to record that they will co-operate and do so. This can be arranged through this office.”

Both Magashule and Cholota have been fingered in the asbestos eradication project of the Free State, back when Magashule was premier of the province.

The project tender was awarded to the Blackhead/Diamond Trading joint venture. Diamond Trading was owned by slain businessman Ignatius “Igo” Mpambani.

Mpambani was shot dead in Sandton in broad daylight in 2018. His business partner in the asbestos deal, Edwin Sodi, was arrested by the Hawks this month after his appearance before the commission.

The Hawks have been approached for comment.