Busi Mkhwebane slams DA over Cyril Ramaphosa probe

Public protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is investigating President Cyril Ramaphosa. / Moeletsi Mabe
Public protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is investigating President Cyril Ramaphosa. / Moeletsi Mabe

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has hit out against claims that she was never requested to probe allegations of money laundering in relation to a donation African Global Operations made to President Cyril Ramaphosa's campaign for the presidency of the ANC.

In a media statement yesterday, Mkhwebane cited court judgments that found that her office was not a passive adjudicator between citizens and the state, and should not be limited to the issues raised for consideration by the parties but should investigate further and discover the truth.

"Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is dumbfounded at emerging claims by the DA and the CR17 campaign managers that she was never asked to investigate allegations of money laundering in relation to the AGO (African Global Operations) donation to President Ramaphosa's campaign for governing party presidency," said Mkhwebane.

She said DA leader Mmusi Maimane in his complaint dated November 23, 2018, requested her to investigate the possibility of an improper relationship between the president, his family and AGO (formerly known as Bosasa), the nature of the R500,000 payment towards the CR17 campaign passing through several intermediaries, thereby raising the suspicion of money laundering; and that the president may have lied to the
National Assembly in his reply to Maimane's question on November 6.

"Mkhwebane has since met, on two occasions, with Mr Maimane during which meetings the complaint and scope of the investigation were discussed at length, and not once did Mr Maimane raise any of these emerging issues," she said.

"In addition to the claims by the DA and CR17 campaign managers, Adv Mkhwebane is also concerned about the conduct of certain journalists in relation to the investigation at hand - conduct which borders on interference with the functioning of her office as contemplated in section 181(4) of the Constitution.

"The facts as to the president's alleged wrongdoings are straightforward and have not changed. It is my contention that on November 6, 2018, President Ramaphosa misled parliament about a R500,000 'donation' his campaign received from Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson, and the clear conflict of interest that exists between him, his son, Andile Ramaphosa and Bosasa. This as his son subsequently secured lucrative contracts with Bosasa to the tune of at least R2m."

Maimane in a press statement said: "While the focus of my complaint was on the president's misleading of the House (of Assembly) and his conflict of interest with Bosasa, the manner in which the 'donation' was allegedly paid - not directly but through attorneys' trust accounts - raised the suspicion of financial irregularities and possible money laundering."

Maimane said he would "eagerly await the release of the final report and for this to be considered by parliament".

"An ad hoc committee must be established without delay, and I have already written to the speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, in this regard. This will leave no room for further speculation and allow the public and parliament to hold president Ramaphosa to account for his actions."

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