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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


WATCH: Magashule’s former PA arrested in US as multi-million rand asbestos trial postponed (VIDEO)

Magashule and his co-accused, including controversial businessman Edwin Sodi, are facing more than 70 counts of fraud, corruption, and money laundering


As the trial of Ace Magashule went to court on Monday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed the former ANC secretary-general’s former executive assistant had been arrested in the United States.

Magashule’s trial, which has been on the pre-trial roll for more than two years, was set to get underway in the High Court in Bloemfontein on Monday but was postponed to 14 June.

Speaking in court, NPA regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said Magashule’s former assistant Moroadi Cholota would appear in a US court on Monday, but did not divulge the charges she faces.

Watch: NPA confirms arrest of Magashule’s PA

“We can confirm that Ms Cholota was arrested this past weekend and she is expected to appear this morning in America… that process will be undertaken as soon as possible to bring her back to the republic.”

Corruption charges against Magashule and Sodi

Magashule and his 17 co-accused, including controversial businessman Edwin Sodi, are facing more than 70 counts of fraud, corruption, and money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

It relates to an asbestos tender awarded by the Free State Department of Human Settlements to Sodi’s Blackhead Consulting to audit, assess and remove asbestos from homes in the province.

Magashule was Free State premier at the time.

Appeal

Magashule and his co-accused tried to challenge their prosecution, but the High Court in May 2022 dismissed the matter.

They then turned to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). But in May 2023, the SCA followed suit and dismissed, with costs, the attempts by Magashule and Sodi to question the validity of their prosecution in the R255 million Free State asbestos corruption case.

“The court ruled that the appeal had “no reasonable prospects of success… and there is no compelling reason why an appeal should be heard”.

ALSO READ: Asbestos case: Attempt by Magashule and Sodi to quash prosecution dismissed

‘Politically motivated’

In addition to Blackhead Consulting, three other companies – 602 Consulting Solutions, Mastertrade 232 and Ori Group – are among the accused.

Magashule claims that he is innocent and the case is politically motivated.

“I know that there is that technicality of our appeal to the SCA… I hope this case will be speedily resolved. I am ready [to go on trial] because I know I have not done anything wrong. I have not stolen a cent of government money,” Magashule said in January.

Magashule also insisted the charges against him were a ploy to prevent him from contesting for leadership positions within the ANC at the party’s elective conference in December.

ALSO READ: Free State Asbestos saga: Former Gauteng Human Settlements HOD arrested