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Hawks respond to Cholota’s claims she was intimidated ’to spill beans on Magashule’

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The Hawks have acknowledged the public outburst by Moroadi Cholota who shared how she was allegedly intimidated by the directorate and the FBI.

Moroadi Cholota appeared before the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture. File picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency (ANA)

THE HAWKS have acknowledged the public outburst by Moroadi Cholota who shared how she was allegedly intimidated by the directorate and the FBI.

In a public statement Cholota – who served as suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s personal assistant – said she was grilled by the FBI and Hawks to unpack on her boss’ alleged corrupt activities in Washington DC.

She shared that in September she was subsequently charged with corruption, money laundering and fraud and detained.

Magashule and his 15 co-accused face charges relating to the R255 million asbestos roofs eradication project.

In response to the claims, Hawks national spokesperson Brigadier Thandi Mbambo said: “The Hawks are aware of the public statement made by Ms Cholota. The SAPS provides a mechanism to be used when a person feels that he/she has not been treated fairly by police in any manner that will be investigated by independent entities. We unfortunately cannot comment on the FBI conduct.”

Cholota further called on the National Prosecuting Authority to intervene on her discontent. Independent Media contacted the NPA for comment, but obtained no response at the time of publication.

According to Cholota, without proper consultation, she learned she would appear as a state witness via newspaper articles.

She e-mailed the SAPS. Days later she apparently received a response that read: “I am sure by now that you have been informed of the arrest of Mr Magashule on the above matter. You are hereby informed you will be called as a state witness in the criminal trial.”

Cholota appeared before the Zondo Commission to give an account of her tenure under Magashule.

In September this year, Cholota claimed that she experienced intimidation and unethical conduct from investigating officials when she was woken up to loud bangs on her apartment door. To her surprise, she was greeted by FBI officials who informed her to get dressed and “come with them”.

Cholota said that despite insisting on driving herself, she noticed four “large black-out SUVs belonging to agents” that had come to her door unannounced. She managed to message a friend to inform that she was being taken to the Sheraton Hotel by the FBI.

At the hotel, they were greeted by two investigating offices from SA who thanked the FBI for escorting her. “My worried friend arrived at the Sheraton Hotel as well, and to my surprise, the FBI mentioned the exact time my friend had been to my apartment and even knew the name!”

She expected questioning to be based on her presentation at the Zondo Commission, but Cholota claimed the investigating officers appeared to “almost be pushing me towards giving more information and opinions on matters unrelated to the information in the affidavit”.

This was when she apparently started feeling uncomfortable and felt officers had attempted to incriminate her. She was further accused of having an “attitude” and that her answers to questions were of “no value”.

Cholota said she stuck to her guns and only gave testimony of what appeared in the Zondo Commission, which apparently left officials with “no choice but to treat you as a suspect”.

At the South African Embassy she received a charge sheet, which charged her with corruption, money laundering and fraud. Shortly afterwards she was detained.

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

“Nothing about any of this conduct and behaviour has been ethical,” she said.

Political Bureau

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