Tokyo Sexwale addresses the media on alleged stolen funds in Johannesburg on Thursday. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)
Tokyo Sexwale addresses the media on alleged stolen funds in Johannesburg on Thursday. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

Was Tokyo Sexwale ’scammed’ over ’stolen billions’ or not?

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Apr 24, 2021

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ANC veteran and billionaire businessman Tokyo Sexwale wanted jobless people who qualified for the R350 Social Relief of Distress grant to earn more than the old-age grant pensioners and some of the domestic workers in the country.

Sexwale made the shocking revelations this week when he gave a detailed account of his reasons to open a criminal case with the Hawks against undisclosed individuals linked to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) who allegedly stole billions of rand of donor funds belonging to an unknown oligarch reportedly based in Singapore.

Sexwale claimed that the oligarch invested trillions of dollars in the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland. He said the money was to be used by all African governments, including Indian Ocean Island countries, for their individual philanthropic and humanitarian work at an interest rate of less than 2%.

According to Sexwale, South Africa and other African states had no reason to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank for financial aid. He said the respective African countries, including our own, had to access oligarch’s funds through its respective central banks.

Sexwale said the funds were deposited in 2016 but he became one of the two South African mandate holders in January 2019.

“The initial mandate holder was Goodwin Erin Webb. He is an old man with a medical condition. I was appointed for my political and business connections, including being former Gauteng premier,” he said.

My first line of call, Sexwale said, was to inform his political party - the ANC - about the fund and later escalated it to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Governor Lesetja Kganyago on February 14, 2019. He wanted the duo to buy into the project, but he admits that Governor Kganyago warned him that “it was a scam.”

He said Mboweni and President Cyril Ramaphosa never bothered to respond, to date, to his overtures. According to him, the dire impact of Covid-19 and university protests due to lack of funds for students made him to approach the Reserve Bank this year and ask them to release the funds into the South African economy.

He said their intention to access the money was to assist the government increase the Social Relief of Distress grant from R350 to R2 700 per month for each of the unemployed recipients. In South Africa, old-age grants recipients aged 60 and above earn R1 890 and those 75-years and above earn 1 910 since Mboweni announced his budget speech in February.

Sexwale said they had also offered to make a donation of US$ 5 dollars to the Solidarity Fund towards the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the bulk of funds was supposed to be for free education in the county, but all these were denied, including the existence of the funds, by Mboweni and Kganyago.

Inspite of their denials, Sexwale maintained that the that billions of donor funds were stolen from the central bank and allegedly channelled to 18 local commercial banks including various prominent business people in the country. He laid a complaint case with the Hawks who are now studying the veracity of his claims.

Hawks head Lieutenant-General Adv Godfrey Lebeya said Sexwale’s complaint is being handled by his Serious Economic Offences Unit, which will decide whether to conduct a criminal investigation.

However, Ramaphosa, Mboweni and Kganyago are adamant that Sexwale was scammed.

Political Bureau

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