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Farmgate: Namibian top cop warned of fallout

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in Limpopo where millions of US dollars were concealed before being stolen by a gang plotting with his domestic worker.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in Limpopo where millions of US dollars were concealed before being stolen by a gang plotting with his domestic worker.

Published Jun 13, 2022

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Cape Town - A report compiled by Namibia’s former head of the police's Criminal Investigations Directorate, commissioner Nelius Becker in June 2020 had warned of a fall-out between South Africa and Namibia over the break-in at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in Limpopo where millions of US dollars were concealed before being stolen by a gang plotting with his domestic worker.

Namibia’s former head of the police's Criminal Investigations Directorate, commissioner Nelius Becker. Picture: Facebook

Ramaphosa has come under scrutiny after former State Security head Arthur Fraser lodged a criminal complaint against him for alleged money laundering, defeating the ends of justice and kidnapping the suspects who were allegedly interrogated, citing breaches of, among others, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, no 121 of 1998 (“Poca”) and the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act No12 of 2004 (“The Corruption Act”).

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President Ramaphosa has confirmed a robbery at his Phala Phala Farm in 2020, which he did not report to the police. File Picture: ANA Archives

It is alleged that in 2020 one South African, Immanuwela David, (ID) conspired with four Namibian nationals and broke into Ramaphosa’s farm where in excess of $4 million (more than R61m) was concealed in furniture.

David is alleged to then have bribed several officials who helped him smuggle himself into Namibia by crossing the Orange River at Rooiwal near Noordoewer.

According to the police report seen by the Cape Times, some audio recordings in Oshivambo language had surfaced in 2020 and were circulated on social media by a man who claimed that he knew David.

“That ID was working as a security guard together with him in South Africa, posted at the gate, and he left the job. On that farm there were apparently Oshivambo-speaking ladies who cleaned the house and ironed clothes, etc.

“One lady discovered the money and told her brother, who lives somewhere else. She was asked to take a picture and video of the money, which she did. She shared the photos and video with her brother. The brother approached ID asking him what kind of money was visible in the video that the lady's brother sent to ID.

“ID told him it was foreign currency. ID organised others to steal it. ID and his team went to spend about 2 to 3 days at a place called Aventura in Warmbaths Limpopo, planning how to steal the money.”

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The document further stated that they had allegedly first broken into the wrong room.

“They first broke into the wrong room and confronted the lady that there was no money. The lady directed them to the right room and they stole the money.

“The lady who works in the farm and her brother were apparently confronted by the authorities or by the farm management and they revealed how much money they were given.

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“The authorities or farm management realised that more money went with ID and his friends. The lady and her brother were apparently allowed to go and were apparently asked to help the authorities or farm management to find the main suspects.”

It is alleged that after the incident David’s lifestyle changed in rags to riches fashion, driving expensive cars, wearing gold chains, buying property and then settling in Cape Town.

The former commissioner identified several loopholes that needed to be investigated and predicted the potential for a fallout in South Africa.

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“The South African authorities, particularly an (identity protector) contacted the Commissioner (identity protector) of Special Branch and set up a meeting in ‘no man's land’ at Ariamsvlei Border Post. Comm (identity protector) flew there and met him and he confirmed that something took place on the farm but that no cases were registered. He confirmed that ID was the mastermind behind the burglary and supplied some names and photographs of his accomplices. Due to the sensitivity of the matter and the envisaged fallout it would create in South Africa they requested that the matter be handled with discretion. Discussions are allegedly ongoing between the countries’ two presidents,” the report stated.

While Ramaphosa remains tight-lipped and refuses to answer questions about the incident, his Namibian counterpart, President Hage G Geingob, revealed the details regarding the arrest of the suspect in Namibia on June 14 2020, but he was not involved in anything criminal.

In a statement, the Namibian Presidency said: “There is absolutely no truth in the allegations that President Geingob inappropriately used his office to assist President Ramaphosa. The Presidency had an opportunity to look in particular at paragraph 13.23 of Mr Fraser’s statement under oath, which is publicly available, and which reads that: ‘President Ramaphosa sought the assistance of the President of Namibia, President Hage Geingob in apprehending the suspect in Namibia’”.

“As can be seen from the above-quoted part of Mr Fraser’s statement, it does not make any allegation of criminality on the part of President Geingob, except a suggestion that President Ramaphosa ‘sought’ assistance from President Geingob ‘in apprehending’ – which literally means ‘assistance in arresting’– the concerned suspect, who is a South African citizen and who at the time was alleged to have unlawfully entered Namibia. The portion referred to above in Mr Fraser’s statement, if properly considered on an objective basis, simply suggests that President Ramaphosa ‘sought assistance in apprehending’ the concerned suspect.

“The details regarding the arrest of the suspect in Namibia on June 14 2020 are matters of public record. The arrest was executed by members of the Namibian Police upon reasonable suspicion that the suspect in question had committed some immigration-related offences in Namibia. The suspect was, in accordance with the law, subsequently convicted by a Criminal Court in Namibia and paid a fine. Following the suspect paying the fine, he left Namibia in November 2020 to his home country, South Africa.

“The Presidency therefore categorically denies insinuations that President Geingob may have acted inappropriately and/or participated or abetted in the apprehension of the individuals concerned. The above stated facts exhaustively and demonstrably clarify the matter.”

Meanwhile the office of the Office of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, with his approval but in his absence on sabbatical said the public was owed an explanation.

“The public is owed quick and clear answers on whether Ramaphosa kept foreign currency in contravention of Reserve Bank regulations, and whether tax has been paid on sales from his farm. There cannot be one law for the rich and well-connected, and another for the rest of us.”

SA1stForum convenor, Advocate Rod Solomons added that the president had a case to answer.

“Having applied my own mind I am crystal clear that the president and some linked to him have a case to answer. They must come clean and the president has to do the honourable thing and simply resign. This is probably his own Nkandla or Watergate moment.”

Cape Times

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