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Captured PP clears Ramaphosa in final Phala Phala report

by Staff reporter
30 Jun 2023 at 14:29hrs | Views
President Cyril Ramaphosa has been cleared of any wrongdoing by acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka in her final report released on Friday regarding the theft of US dollars in cash from his Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo in February 2020.

Gcaleka had initially cleared Ramaphosa in a preliminary report released in March.

 However, she found that then head of the South African Police Service presidential protection service General Wally Rhoode and other members had "acted improperly" in investigating the crime.

The report said the allegation that Ramaphosa had violated the Executive Ethics Code and that there was a conflict of interest between his business dealings and his constitutional obligations "is not substantiated".

The public protector's investigators could not find evidence showing that Ramaphosa was "actively involved in the day-to-day operations of Ntaba Nyoni or Phala Phala farm".

Ramaphosa also played "no role" in the sale of buffalo to Sudanese billionaire Mustafa Mohamed Ibrahim Hazim for $580 000 on 26 December 2019, according to the report.

Gcaleka found Ramaphosa had not failed to report the burglary as alleged by former State Security Agency boss Arthur Fraser in his affidavit to the police when he laid charges against Ramaphosa in June 2022.

In the same month, the South African Revenue Service (Sars) also cleared Ramaphosa and his companies — Ntaba Nyoni Estate, a sprawling 5 100 hectare livestock farm, and Ntaba Nyoni Feedlot — finding that they were compliant with tax obligations.

Sars commissioner Edward Kieswetter said that, based on this approach, the taxpayers in question have over the years been selected for audit by Sars well ahead of the start of media publications concerning the companies and this has continued since then.

He added that "to date, audits have been concluded without any adverse tax findings; Sars wishes to confirm that the taxpayers are compliant with their tax obligations to date", News24 reported.

African Transformation Movement(ATM) leader Vuyo Zungula filed the complaint on 3 June last year, shortly after Fraser opened the criminal case against Ramaphosa. The incident only became public knowledge, and the subject of a formal police investigation, after Fraser brought it to light.

Fraser submitted that about $4 million had been stolen and that the money had been concealed in a sofa that was transported from the Hyde Park home of presidential adviser Bejani Chauke to the game farm. It was, he alleged, part of a small fortune in secret donations Chauke had smuggled into the country from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea.

Ramaphosa has dismissed this as fiction. He has conceded that the money was concealed in a sofa, but told investigators that it was payment in cash from the theSudanese businessman who bought livestock from his farm in 2019.

The controversy brought Ramaphosa to the brink of resignation last year after a panel headed by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo concluded that he had a case to answer on four charges contained in an impeachment motion tabled by the ATM and recommended that he face an impeachment inquiry.

The report was eventually rejected by the National Assembly after ANC legislators closed ranks around the president. The report by the panel was rejected by 214 votes to 149.
Zungula has since approached the supreme court of appeal for leave to appeal the high court's dismissal of its bid to overturn the parliamentary vote.

Source - online