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

Tokyo Sexwale lays criminal charges over ’stolen’ funds

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Apr 23, 2021

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Pretoria - ANC veteran and businessman Tokyo Sexwale has stuck to his guns over the alleged theft of billions of rand in donor funds from the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) and has since laid criminal charges.

Despite denials by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Sarb governor Lesetja Kganyago, Sexwale yesterday insisted that the WSB Heritage Funds existed and were funnelled out of the central bank, through 18 banks, for the benefit of prominent and powerful individuals, whose names he could not disclose for fear of jeopadising the criminal investigation.

Sexwale, who described the Sarb as a “crime scene”, told the media in Johannesburg that the matter was being probed by the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks.

Armed with documentary proof – in the form of records and correspondence with President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mboweni and Kganyago – Sexwale called a media briefing after the National Treasury and the Sarb dismissed him as a victim of a scam, when he claimed in a TV interview at the weekend that the funds had been stolen.

Sexwale also produced the fund’s account number, which he said was located in the Sarb, under a unit known as the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

“The crime scene is inside the Reserve Bank. The police will find out why.” Sexwale said. “Lesetja Kganyago has not yet said anything. I don’t know what he himself has done because he is the head of the bank. Things were happening under his watch. How much did he know? I had a meeting with him. I gave him documents and they disappeared. When I donated money to Gloria Serobe (Solidarity Fund head), I wrote to him. He said: ‘I will authenticate and I will be back’.”

Serobe couldn’t be reached for comment.

Sexwale insisted that the Sarb was the “hub of money laundering”, adding that South Africa was the only country in Africa which fraudulently accessed the donor funds.

“The money was then transferred to 18 commercial banks in the country, including into the personal accounts of prominent individuals. All these crimes happened at the Reserve Bank. Now they say Tokyo was scammed,” he said.

Fanie Fondse, who introduced himself as a Reserve Bank shareholder, publicly backed Sexwale during the media briefing, saying he had previously raised the same issues.

The National Treasury and the Sarb yesterday said they did not want to comment on the latest allegations by Sexwale.

However, they maintained that they stood by their statement, denying the existence of such funds.

On Monday, the two parties said: “Allegations made by Mr Tokyo Sexwale on alleged billions that have been deposited at the South African Reserve Bank points to a common scam. Over the years, National Treasury and the Sarb have received many such requests for, or promises, of billions (and now trillions) of rand or dollars and, from experience, regard these simply as scams.” Sexwale said the case was being probed by the Hawks after he personally approached the elite crime-busting unit’s boss General Godfrey Lebea.

Lebea confirmed that Sexwale registered a complaint with his office, adding that he referred him to the Serious Economic Offences Unit.

“Mr Sexwale has indeed registered a complaint with my office. I then referred him to our Serious Economic Offences Unit. They are conducting an investigation on the matter,” Lebea said.

According to Sexwale, the “thieves” were now returning the same cash to the country, allegedly in a form of investment, following Ramaphosa’s numerous calls for international investments in the local economy. He added that no genuine investors or institutions would invest in South Africa after the country had suffered a number of financial downgrades by the ratings agencies since 2018.

“The people who are purporting to be investing in South Africa are the very same people who stole the donor funds from the Sarb,” Sexwale insisted.

He said the cash deposited amounted to 12 zeros in US currency (dollars), and was supposed to be used to improve infrastructure and provide student funding.

He said the money was the reason why former president Jacob Zuma announced free education on the eve of the ANC elective conference in December 2017.

Sexwale shared the letters he had written to Ramaphosa, Kganyago, Mboweni and ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile about the donor funds, since he was appointed WSB Heritage Fund’s co-chairperson in January 2019.

He added that the president and the finance minister had ignored him.

Maintaining that those who called him a scam victim were themselves trying to “hoodwink and scam” the public, Sexwale said he was unfazed by the name calling because “the truth is stubborn”.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe was asked to comment, but had not responded by the time of publication. Presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale said the Presidency was associating itself with the views of the National Treasury and the Reserve Bank. Zuma’s spokesperson Vukile Mathabela said he has yet to verify Sexwale’s allegations.

Maintaining that those who called him a scam victim were themselves trying to “hoodwink and scam” the public, Sexwale said he was unfazed by the name calling because “the truth is stubborn”.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe but they had not responded at time of publication. Presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale said the Presidency was associating itself with the views of the National Treasury and the Reserve Bank. Zuma's spokesperson Vukile Mathabela said he has yet to verify Sexwale's allegations.

Pretoria News

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