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Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka's Phala Phala farm robbery investigator managed by Ramaphosa' people

by Staff reporter
02 Oct 2022 at 17:07hrs | Views
One of the Public Protector investigators probing the Phala Phala farm robbery is allegedly being managed by two people on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The investigator, whose name is known to "The Sunday Independent", allegedly met his handlers, who are based in Johannesburg, in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, where he was allegedly told how to deal with investigations involving Ramaphosa and his close associates.

It isn't clear whether the two men, whose names weren't revealed, acted on their own accord or they were sent by Ramaphosa to meet with the public protector investigator. These are some of the allegations contained in Arthur Fraser's response to the public protector's office that was submitted this week.

"The record will show that I raised this issue squarely and frontally without attacking (investigator's) integrity. I deemed it prudent that we are open and frank with each other. Such integrity will ensure that this investigation doesn't become yet another scandalous exercise in subterfuge, and its report, yet another sinister document designed to pull the wool over society's eyes. The truth is a stubborn stain," Fraser wrote.

The former state security agent DG also accused the office of the public protector of treating him either "as a complainant or an implicated person."

"I simply laid criminal charges against President Ramaphosa and requested the directorate for priority crime investigation (DPCI) to investigate the matter," he added.

Fraser reminded the public protector's office that the complaints about the Phala Phala farm robbery were lodged by four individuals including members of Parliament, DA leader John Steenhuisen, and ATM president Vuyo Zungula.

"I deemed it my legal and constitutional obligation to lay criminal charges against President Ramaphosa. I did not do it lightly or for any self-aggrandisement. The charges are neither banal nor trivial."

"I undertook to assist the office of the public protector in so far as my assistance would not compromise the criminal investigation pending before the DPCI. I, therefore, furnish you with information that I have been advised does not carry with it the risk of compromising the criminal investigation," he added.

Fraser also explained, in his response, that public protector investigators "insinuated that my reporting of this crime may have something to do with the ANC national conference which is to be held in December 2022."

"I was left with the perception that you regarded me as an accused rather than a whistleblower and you sought to elevate this ‘motive' above the imperative to investigate the alleged criminal and unethical conduct of President Ramaphosa."

Fraser also revealed, in his response, that the unlawful investigation into the theft of millions of dollars at the president's farm in Bela-Bela, Limpopo on February 9, 2020, proceeded until June/July 2021.

"It is during this period that I became aware of the burglary and the unlawful storage of money in the president's residence. Even at that stage, I still had to verify the information given to me about the crime. It would have been remiss of me to lay a charge before verifying the information received from sources. I reiterate that, unlike a burglary, keeping large sums of money is an ongoing offence and cannot be limited to one day or incident."

Fraser also advised the office of the public protector to share Ramaphosa's response to the 31 questions that were sent to him by the suspended public protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, hours before she was slapped with the suspension which the Cape Town High Court ruled was invalid.

Ramaphosa and the DA are challenging the ruling.

"You will also recall that my legal team and I frontally indicated to you that President Ramaphosa's responses cannot be kept a secret forever and that the best way to get the truth is to disclose such response in order to obtain my rebuttal thereof or concession thereto."

Fraser opened the criminal case against Ramaphosa and his head of security, General Wally Rhoode, at Rosebank police station in June accusing them of kidnapping and torturing the five men, all Namibian nationals, who allegedly broke into the Phala Phala farm and stealing an undisclosed amount of American dollars that were concealed in furniture including a mattress at the president's Phala Phala farm.

Fraser said the robbery was never reported to the police but the suspects were traced in a clandestine way, including using a state grabber, and that they were kidnapped and tortured to reveal their roles in the crime as well as hand over some of their remains from the robbery after they went on a shopping spree after the robbery buying cars including a Bentley, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, a house in Rustenburg, apartment in Cape Town and a guest house in Namibia as well as jewellery and explosive watches.

Responding to parliamentary questions on Thursday, Ramaphosa blamed Rhoode for failing to report the case to the police.

"I have said and admitted there was a theft on the farm and I reported that to a general (Rhoode) in the SAPS, who later informed me he had reported it to another general. I deny there is any form of money laundering. I have said it publicly, it was the proceeds of sales of game. I have been a cattle farmer and a game farmer for a number of years. I have disclosed that here in Parliament and to the secretary of Cabinet," Ramaphosa told members of parliament.

"The Sunday Independent" has it on high authority that the Hawks investigators have recommended to the NPA that all police officers that were involved in the clandestine investigation with Rhoode should be charged because they abused state resources including travelling, accommodation and use of state grabber to trace and ping the suspects."

Rhoode has already been served with the letter of suspension.

Police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe told "The Sunday Independent" that "the SAPS does not discuss its internal processes and matters in the public domain."

The office of the public protector is yet to release its report on the Phala Phala farm investigation while Ramaphosa is facing possible impeachment in Parliament for allegedly breaching section 96 of the Constitution and the code of ethics prescribed by the executive member's ethics on the same matter.

Source - iol