Ace Magashule ANC Suspended

Former FS Premier and current ANC SG Ace Magashule. Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

Ace Magashule’s ex-assistant speaks out on FBI, Hawks interrogation

Ace Magashule former assistant Moroadi Cholota was recently added to the list of suspects in the R255 million asbestos case

Ace Magashule ANC Suspended

Former FS Premier and current ANC SG Ace Magashule. Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

Suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule’s former personal assistant Moroadi Cholota says she was never informed about being a state witness in the multimillion rand asbestos case and has further accused both the FBI and Hawks of trying to get her to incriminate herself, Sunday Times reports.

Cholota, who is current studying in the US, was grilled by FBI officials for a period of two days. A warrant of arrest has been issued for Cholota here in South Africa. The state revealed in the High Court in Bloemfontein that she is no longer a state witness and has been added onto the list of suspects. Now officials are in the process of bringing her back to South Africa to face trial.

Magashule and at least 15 other co-accused face charges of corruption racketeering and money laundering – in relation to a lucrative asbestos tender that was found to be unlawfully awarded when he was still Free State premier.

Ace Magashule’s ex-assistant claims ‘intimidation’

Further talking about her interrogation, Moroadi Cholota says the FBI refused to allow her to contact her lawyer and told her they would give her a day to think about her responses to them. It isn’t clear if this is in relation to her alleged role in the R255 million contract asbestos contract, which involves her ex-boss Ace Magashule, as she claims this had nothing to do with her testimony at the State Capture Commission.

“Their decision to intimidate me, threaten and then promptly charge me without reason or grounds to is the most blatantly egregious contravention of my constitutional rights and other rights both as a witness and citizen of SA,” she said.

Background: In 2014, the Free State human settlements department awarded a contract worth a whopping R255 million to two companies – Diamond Hill and Blackhead Consulting. This was to audit and assess houses for asbestos roofs in the province. The project entailed inspecting 300 000 low-cost houses, however it would later be revealed that almost no work was no done, despite the money being paid.

Here’s how Ace Magashule fits into this scandal: At the time, he was still the province’s premier – he is alleged to have condoned and accepted a number of gratifications on behalf of others from Ignatius “Igo” Mpambani, the late owner of Diamond Hill Trading, one of the two companies that were irregularly rewarded the contract. The payments total over R1 million, including R300 000 for tablets and R53 000 towards the tuition fees for the daughter of an acting judge.