National News/06 November 2023, 19:34pm/ Staff Writer
Moroadi Cholota:image supplied
By Staff Writer: The state has initiated extradition proceedings against Moroadi Cholota, a named defendant in the R255 million asbestos case, after she failed to fulfill her commitment to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Cholota, formerly the personal assistant of former Free State Premier Ace Magashule, had promised the DPP that she would turn herself over to authorities following the issue of a warrant for her arrest in 2021. She faces multiple charges, which include fraud and corruption in relation to a failed project in 2014.
Advocate Navilla Somaru, the Head of Free State DPP, expressed disappointment at Cholota’s failure to uphold the agreement. Cholota, who is currently studying in America, was expected to surrender herself to South African authorities. This disregard led to the state’s application for her extradition.
The alleged corruption was revealed in Pieter Louis Myburgh’s book, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture. The book highlighted several requests by Cholota for money transactions to Mpambani.
As of October 2023, Advocate Somaru stated, “All the requested documents have been submitted and the outcome of the process in the USA is awaited.”
In 2021, state prosecutor Adv. Johan de Nysschen informed Judge President Cagney Musi that Cholota, previously considered a state witness, was uncooperative with state detectives. This left the state with no choice but to proceed without her if she does not return to South Africa before the trial begins.
In December 2022, Cholota’s student visa expired, leading to her arrest in January 2023. However, she was later released, and further details about the arrest are pending.
The case also involves several high-profile defendants, including Limpopo businessman Edwin Sodi; former Mangaung Metro Mayor, Olly Mlamleli; and former head of the Free State Department of Human Settlements, Nthimotse Mokhesi, among others.
The group is accused of more than 70 counts of fraud, theft, attempted theft, corruption, and money laundering. All suspects have been released on bail ranging from R50,000 to R500,000, pending further legal proceedings.