Johannesburg - South Africa and the world would have never known about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s alleged illicit financial mess if the millions of US dollars had not been stolen from his Phala Phala farm.
The Section 89 Independent Panel retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo chaired was bang on the mark when it found Ramaphosa not being truthful by declaring that only $580 000 (about R9.5 million) was stolen.
Today we unveil the real picture.
Information obtained by the Falcons Investigations reveals that at least $4m, which was hidden in the furniture, was stolen at Phala Phala, which is way more than what Ramaphosa declared to the Parliament-appointed panel.
And it does not end there. Information gathered from sources who have intimate knowledge of the entire saga revealed that way more than $100m was hidden on the embattled president’s properties. Just more than R2 billion was allegedly moved from Waterkloof Air Force Base to Phala Phala – which converts to just more than $140m, according to 2020 exchange rates.
The money was kept at the farm for more than a month prior to the theft in February.
The Section 89 Independent Panel led by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo this week exposed glaring inaccuracies in Ramaphosa’s account of how much was stolen at his Phala Phala farm and ultimately found that the president had a case to answer with regard to the theft.
The panel cited an investigator in an audio clip who put it to a suspect they knew that the suspects took about “20 million” to Namibia, albeit without clarity on the currency.
“Although in the audio clip is it not entirely clear, what currency they were referring to when the amount of 20 million was mentioned. Whether the investigator was referring to US$ or ZAR, this amount is far more than the US$580 000 that was alleged to have been hidden inside the sofa.
“If what the suspect and the investigator were saying is true about the money stolen, then there was more than US$580 000 hidden in the sofa. The question is where did this additional foreign currency come from?” reads the panel’s report.
Former State Security Agency (SSA) director-general Arthur Fraser stated in his affidavit that, although there was no certainty about the precise amount stolen, the quantum was speculated to be about $4m to $8m, Ramaphosa publicly downplayed it to have been “far less”.
In his submission to the panel, Ramaphosa said the stolen money was proceeds of a sale to a Sudanese national he only identified as “Mr Mustafa Mohamed Ibrahim Hazim”. He said Hazim came to the farm to view buffaloes that were for sale and paid $580 000 in cash to a Mr Ndlovu for the purchase of a number of the buffaloes.
However, Fraser in his affidavit alleged that Ramaphosa’s closest adviser Bejani Chauke was instrumental in illegally bringing into the country large sums of US dollars from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Morocco, and Equatorial Guinea.
According to sources with intimate knowledge of the matter, Ramaphosa, during his state visit to Saudi Arabia in July 2018, that country made a $20m donation to the ANC – which they referred to as Mandela’s party. Later another $20m was donated to the party bringing to $40m the total amount donated by Saudi Arabia.
The donations were allegedly on condition that the South African government did not give any form of support to Qatar. Relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar had historically been turbulent due to disagreements over the rightful ownership of several territories.
The sources said that the Saudis allegedly also expected an exclusive Saudi-South Africa oil deal through an oil refinery to be built in Richards Bay and backed by state-owned Saudi Aramco.
It seems though that South Africa’s number one citizen was double-dipping. According to our sources, he allegedly received another $10m donation from Qatar via French-born Philippe Solomons, who lives in Doha. Solomons, who has links with US intelligence agencies, flew from United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Qatar to collect the money and then to South Africa where he touched down at Fireblade private terminal at OR Tambo. Ramaphosa’s trusted man Chauke, who interestingly has a diplomatic passport, was there to collect the bag of cash.
In total Ramaphosa allegedly received $50m in the form of “donations for the ANC”.
Ramphosa, according to a source close to the president, allegedly received $40m during his trip to Egypt which lasted one day as he had to return to face a crisis. They claimed that he went to collect the monies. We have not been able to verify this information about the monies from Egypt as yet.
The president allegedly also received about $10m from Equatorial Guinea’s Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue, who in return expected Ramaphosa to facilitate the return of his assets confiscated in France and also to “convince” the courts in South Africa to rule in his favour. According to information gathered from sources, he further received undisclosed amounts of money from the DRC and Ghana.
After the Phala Phala scandal broke out Ramaphosa allegedly roped in two businessmen to help him launder the money through dubious property deals, who we will only identify as Zahir and Karl for now. Sources revealed that about $20m was moved to Zahir and $10m was moved to Karl.
The section 89 panel found that other than the names of Hazim and Ndlovu, no further particulars of these individuals are provided such as their passport or identity document numbers. Nor does MCR1 reflect the address of the buyer. “Mr Hazim is said to be a Sudanese businessman. Yet no particulars are given of his business or the business he is involved in, the address where he conducts business from or any particulars that will enable anyone wishing to identify him or establish his whereabouts.”
It seems Ramaphosa was well on track in his quest, which he declared in 2018, to raise $100 billion … except it was not for his country or even his party.