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Why is Sars tight-lipped about Ramaphosa’s millions?

I received many questions from readers who are urging Sars and, especially, its Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, to explain why Sars has remained mum on the subject, writes BR editorAdri Senekal de Wet.

I received many questions from readers who are urging Sars and, especially, its Commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, to explain why Sars has remained mum on the subject, writes BR editorAdri Senekal de Wet.

Published Jun 14, 2022

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IOL reported last week that the country’s financial authorities, including the South African Revenue Service (Sars), have remained tight-lipped on whether they would investigate the matter of an alleged sum of millions of dollars reportedly stashed away on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm, before a gang is believed to have broken in and stolen some of it.

As the story continues to gather momentum and spread into international media, pressure mounts on Ramaphosa to stop hiding behind so-called “due process” and come clean, with political analysts saying the situation and his unwillingness to engage, severely damaging the reputation of the sitting president.

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According to an affidavit by former SA spy boss Arthur Fraser, in excess of $4 million (about R64m) was concealed at Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in the Waterberg, Limpopo, before criminals colluding with his domestic worker stole them (or some of them) in 2020.

The precise amount of what was held on the premises or what was taken has not yet been determined, but it was reckoned to have been hidden in the furniture. Curious.

Business Report (BR) has, in its possession, the letter to Ramaphosa delivered on June 3 by the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane – the very same Mkhwebane who was suspended with immediate effect last week Friday, shortly after Ramaphosa got grilled in Parliament and addressed the media.

Following my article in BR published today (Mon), titled “Ramaphosa: Why didn’t you declare the millions stacked in furniture on your farm?”, I received many questions from readers who are urging Sars and, especially, its commissioner, Edward Kieswetter, to explain why Sars has remained mum on the subject, which could well be one of the biggest tax evasion stories to hit South Africa.

That it could have been perpetrated by a sitting president is another story, but then, hey, this is South Africa, and apparently anything could happen.

One reader’s comment is as follows: “The uncaptured Sars should have sent letters to Ramaphosa, like the public protector (now suspended) did. But how can Sars do that when Kieswetter is a director of one of Ramaphosa’s companies?”

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Whether this comment has any merit or not, it is my view that Kieswetter should hold Ramaphosa accountable and that Sars should formally investigate the matter.

Maybe it is true that Kieswetter received a call from Ramaphosa to assist and, according to a source, Kieswetter denied this request.

BR will investigate the matter.

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It will also be interesting to see whether the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (the FBI), will get involved in this matter.

As far as I am aware, the FBI has full rights to investigate such matters in foreign territories that involve its currency, particularly incidents based on millions of undeclared dollars.

Readers have also asked BR “why the national police commissioner is quiet about this very important case against Ramaphosa”.

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In a void, the public make up their own minds. And any continued silence from Ramaphosa and the authorities will just add fuel to the fire. But then, as we have so often reported, there is no smoke without fire in the first place.

What is abundantly clear though, is that political in-fighting within the ANC has now reached its head …

Where to from here?

View the letter sent to the president from the suspended public protector below:

Executive Editor of Business Report.

BUSINESS REPORT

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