South Africa

‘I will never steal from taxpayers’ – Ramaphosa denies money stolen from farm was proceeds of crime

Speaking for the first time before an ANC gathering since former spy boss Arthur Fraser laid charges against him, President Cyril Ramaphosa assured party members that the alleged money stolen from his farm was not from the proceeds of crime.

“I never have and will never steal from taxpayers… I want to reaffirm that I was not involved in any criminal conduct, and once again I pledge my full cooperation with any form of investigation. Still, due to the investigation, I will not be able to engage deeply or further in the matter. I will let the due process take its course,” said Ramaphosa.

As he had already done earlier in the week through his spokesperson, Ramaphosa again reiterated that the monies said to have been stolen during a robbery at his farm in Limpopo in 2020 were proceeds from his cattle and game business.

“I am in the cattle business and in the game business, business interests that have been declared in Parliament,” said Ramaphosa.

He also dismissed Fraser’s claims that the amount stolen was $4 million or subsequent media reports that the amount could have been as high as R1 billion.

Ramaphosa said light would only be shed on how much was stolen and how it was kept by the investigation instituted as a result of the charges laid by Fraser.

He vowed that the allegations would not deter his administration’s renewal efforts and attempts to rid the ANC and government of corruption.

“We need to become the type of leaders who will be able to stand up and say we are here to make sure that our people get a better life; that is what drives me, that is what wakes me up every day,” said Ramaphosa.

Fraser laid a criminal complaint against Ramaphosa and Presidential Protection Unit head Major-General Wally Rhoode for money laundering, kidnapping and acting in contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and corruption.

He claimed Ramaphosa was part of a cover up following an illegal investigation into the incident.

Despite the explanation, the DA has written to the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to investigate the allegations surrounding Ramaphosa’s multimillion-dollar robbery.

On Friday, DA leader John Steenhuisen addressed two letters to SARS and the SARB over Ramaphosa’s $4 million theft claims.

In the letter to SARS, Steenhuisen said the incident had raised several concerns in the public domain relating to tax compliance in the transaction that led to the president acquiring $4 million (about R62 million) in cash.

Addressing the SARB, the DA said considering that regulations and exchange controls by the bank limited the amount of foreign exchange a person may hold, monitored illicit financial flows, and set requirements relating to the surrender of foreign currency; it was essential for both the maintenance of the rule of law and equality before the law that this matter was probed.

“It is also required in terms of the Currency and Exchanges Act of 1933 and appropriate regulations in terms of the Act,” the letter stated.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) had also written to the Office of the Public Protector asking that it investigate Ramaphosa’s alleged conduct as contained in Fraser’s 48-page affidavit.

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