Magashule's former PA Moroadi Cholota to fight extradition from US

11 June 2024 - 17:47
By Phathu Luvhengo
Ace Magashule's former personal assistant Moroadi Cholota has indicated she will appeal the decision. File photo.
Image: Screenshot Ace Magashule's former personal assistant Moroadi Cholota has indicated she will appeal the decision. File photo.

The ex-personal assistant of former Free State premier Ace Magashule intends to appeal her extradition from the US. 

This follows a Friday ruling by the judge Erin Aslan of the Maryland district court which approved South Africa’s extradition application for Moroadi Cholota.

Justice ministry spokesperson Chrispin Phiri told TimesLIVE that Cholota has indicated she would appeal the decision. He said she will be extradited when that process is concluded, if it is in favour of South Africa. 

"Cholota was found extraditable. Just like in our legal system, she has a right to either appeal or make representations to the secretary of state in the US, which she indicated she would do," he said. 

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) initially filed for Cholota, who was studying in the US, to be extradited in 2022 after linking her to a R255m asbestos tender corruption case. The US court approved the extradition after it found the NPA produced "sufficient evidence".

The case against Magashule and 17 others is expected to return to court at Bloemfontein high court on Friday June 14. 

Magashule is accused of involvement in a corrupt tender scheme that allegedly saw high-ranking Free State government officials receive kickbacks from money meant to fund the removal of harmful asbestos from the homes of the province's poorest residents.

TimesLIVE previously reported that instead of the houses being safely rid of the material at a reasonable price, the state alleges Magashule and businessman Edwin Sodi of Blackhead Consulting embarked on a “rent-seeking” scheme that resulted in only R21m in work being done.

Magashule together with Nthimotse Mokhesi, Mahlomola Matlakala, Sello Radebe, Kgotso Manyeki, Sarah Mlamleli, Nozipho Molikoe, Albertus Venter, Cholota and Margaret-Ann Deidericks have been charged with fraud, corruption, money laundering and the contravention of the Public Finance Management Act. 

Free State NPA spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said they welcomed the decision of the US district court.

"We are confident in the strength of the state’s case and will ensure all relevant evidence is presented during the trial," he said. 

Senokoatsane said during the previous appearance, the case was postponed as per the request of the defence. "One of the accused did not have legal representations. Sarah Mlamleli was sick and could not be in court.

"The June 14 appearance will be more about the defence state of readiness and the parties agreeing on a suitable date for pre-trial and trial date."