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'Ramaphosa's donations from White Monopoly Capital must be made public'

by Staff reporter
19 Jul 2019 at 17:33hrs | Views
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to publish all the donations he had received during his 2017 ANC presidential campaign, finding he had breached the executive ethics code by failing to disclose the donations.

In her findings, relating to the Gavin Watson donation saga, that were published on Friday, Mkhwebane found all the donations to the CR17 campaign amounted to benefits of a material nature to Ramaphosa.

Watson is the boss of African Global Operations (AGO), which was formerly known as Bosasa, a service company that allegedly bribed senior government and ANC officials to win lucrative state contracts.

"President Ramaphosa as a presidential candidate for the ANC political party received campaign contributions that benefited him in his personal capacity," Mkhwebane said.

"He was therefore duty bound to declare such financial benefit accruing to him from the campaign pledges. Failure to disclose the said material benefits, including a donation from AGO, constitutes a breach of the code."

Mkhwebane said because Ramaphosa was the deputy president and an MP at the time, he was therefore bound by the code of ethical conduct and disclosure of members' interest for assembly and permanent council members to declare the financial interest.

According to her, Ramaphosa believed there was a distinction between donations made to a campaign fund for a political party's elective conference and gifts and benefits received by people in their official capacity or in an attempt to influence the member's performance of their official duties.

"He [Ramaphosa] contended that it could never have been the intention of the legislature to regulate donor funding for internal political party elections," Mkhwebane said.  

"According to him, it was clearly the intention of the legislature to regulate the provision of gifts and benefits to members 'in return for a benefit received by the member in their official capacity' or 'in an attempt to influence the member in the performance of the member's duties'."

She added Ramaphosa said there was no legal obligation to disclose sources of private funding in an internal political party election.

Misled Parliament

In terms of the R500 000 donation made by Watson, Mkhwebane found Ramaphosa had deliberately misled Parliament when he responded to a question about the donation in the National assembly.

Ramaphosa was confronted by DA leader Mmusi Maimane with a signed affidavit by former Bosasa auditor Peet Venter, which revealed that a R500 000 payment was made to an attorney's trust account, called EFG2, in October 2017.

Venter's affidavit stated the payment was for the Andile Ramaphosa Foundation, but no such foundation exists.

Ramaphosa responded in the National Assembly, saying he was aware his son was in business with Bosasa and the payment formed part of the contract.

But later that week, the president wrote a letter to then-speaker Baleka Mbete, correcting his reply to Maimane, saying the R500 000 was in fact a donation to his CR17 campaign.

"He deliberately misled Parliament, in that he should have allowed himself sufficient time to research a well-informed response," Mkhwebane said.

"I therefore find President Ramaphosa's conduct as referred to above, although ostensibly in good faith, to be inconsistent with his office as a member of Cabinet and therefore in violation of Section 91(1) of the Constitution."

Remedial action

In her remedial action, Mkhwebane demanded the publication of all donations received by Ramaphosa because he was the deputy president then and was thus bound to declare such financial interests.

She said this should be done within 30 days of receipt of her report.

Mkhwebane asked National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to refer Ramaphosa's violations to the joint committee of ethics and members' interests for consideration.

The Public Protector also asked the police and National Prosecuting Authority to investigate Watson for lying under oath and conduct further investigations into the prima facie evidence of money laundering, respectively.

Mkhwebane's findings in a nutshell

· Ramaphosa had deliberately misled the National Assembly concerning the R500 000 donation when he responded to a question from DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

· He had violated the executive ethics code in that he had exposed himself to a situation involving the risk of conflict between himself and his son through businesses owned by AGO.

· The president had breached the executive ethics code by failing to disclose the financial interest accrued to him as a result of the donations received for the CR17 campaign.

· Mkhwebane said she was of the view there was merit to the allegations of money laundering in terms of the R500 000 Bosasa donation as it was sent to several intermediaries before landing in the CR17 trust account.

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Source - news24