Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has had to clarify the scope of her office’s investigation into Cyril Ramaphosa after reports came out alleging that the president was being sought for money laundering.
The whole debacle around Ramaphosa’s involvement in the alleged illicit movement of the R500 000 donation he received for his CR17 campaign in 2017 was further exacerbated by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane when he made assertions about criminal charges awaiting the president should he be found to have been complicit in money laundering.
Is Ramaphosa being sought for money laundering?
Maimane was the one who brought this matter to Mkhwebane. During a National Assembly question-and-answer session, in November 2018, the DA leader probed the president on the nature of the donation he had received from Gavin Watson’s personal account.
Watson is the CEO of Bosasa (currently operating as African Global Operations), the facilities management company meddled in the state capture inquiry as a key player in the looting of state funds.
Maimane submitted evidence to Mkhwebane, showing how the donation supposedly moved from Watson’s account to another company’s (Mlotto Trading) business account, before making its way into EFG2, a trust account believed to be the property of Andile Ramaphosa, the president’s son.
When asked about this in Parliament, Ramaphosa had scoffed the payment off as a payment to Andile for consulting services rendered.
However, he would later trackback this statement in a written submission to Baleka Mbete, the former Speaker of the National Assembly, stating that he had no idea where the money came from, which was essentially the nature of his conduct with donations received for political campaigns.
What exactly is Mkhwebane probing Ramaphosa for?
Maimane’s assertions to the Public Protector were that the president may have lied to Parliament in his initial response to his question, and he could possibly be a key player in the illicit movement of the R500 000 donation, which constitutes a gross violation of the executive ethics code and subsequently makes him a money launderer.
Mkhwebane’s office, in a statement released on Monday evening, noted that she was confused about Maimane’s push for her to prioritise the money laundering aspect of the investigation.
PLEASE NOTE: The correct date of the complaint by the leader of the official opposition is 23 November 2018 not 2017 as erroneously referred to in the second paragraph of our statement. https://t.co/dPorfu85iz
— Public Protector SA (@PublicProtector) June 24, 2019
Furthermore, Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, confirmed that the Public Protector is solely focused on the R500 000 donation, and not the president’s possible involvement in the illicit movement of the money.
“The Public Protector has been investigating DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s complaint, about Bosasa’s R500,000 donation towards Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential campaign,” Segalwe said.
When will Ramaphosa reply to Mkhwebane?
The president was granted an extension in his reply to the Public Protector’s preliminary report into the investigation. So far, we know that Ramaphosa is awaiting a list of answers to questions his office posed to a witness in the Bosasa donation scandal.
He is expected to submit his reply to Mkhwebane no later than Friday, 28 June.