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Ramaphosa will not be called to testify on the Phala Phala case – NPA

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams

Published Nov 12, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa will not be on the list of witnesses testifying against the three people accused of allegedly stealing thousands of undeclared foreign currency hidden under the couch of his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo three years ago.

This was confirmed by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) after the 2020 Phala Phala heist came back to haunt Ramaphosa, hogging headlines last week.

In November last year the Section 89 parliamentary panel chaired by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo found that Ramaphosa may have a case to answer over the burglary.

In the report Ngcobo alleged a cover-up of the crime.

The three-member panel investigated whether the president has an impeachable case against him over his handling of the theft of foreign currency from his Limpopo game farm.

The report also said there was enough evidence to warrant a parliamentary debate on whether Ramaphosa should be removed from office of which he was protected by the ruling ANC in a vote.

The panel found prima facie evidence that the President may have abused his power and said Ramaphosa may have committed serious violations and breached anti-corruption laws.

It also said there was a deliberate intention to keep the investigation into the crimes committed at Phala Phala under wraps.

Ngcobo cautioned that Ramaphosa was not being truthful by declaring that only $580 000 (an estimated R9.5 million) was stolen.

Meanwhile the president’s former housekeeper, Froliana Joseph along with her brother, Ndilinasho David Joseph and accomplice Imanuwela David, who appeared before the Bela Bela Magistrate’s Court on Friday after they were arrested by the Hawks in connection with the theft this week, denied any involvement in the theft.

The two siblings would have to spend another week in custody after their application for bail was postponed for judgement to next Friday.

David, who will only apply for bail on Friday, after his lawyer, known as Mr Matlala had informed the NPA that he would not make the initial bail hearing.

Froliana and Imanuwela David were arrested earlier in the week, while Ndilinasho handed himself over to the police on the eve of the bail application for the siblings.

Limpopo NPA spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi told Independent Media after the court proceedings of Friday that Ramaphosa had not written a statement to law enforcement about the matter, but rather his farm manager had, meaning he had not been seen as a witness for the state.

“The complainant is the manager of Phala Phala farm and not the president. He is the one that has opened the case, not the president. So there is no reason to call the president,” she said.

The matter stems from 2022 when former spy boss Arthur Fraser laid criminal charges of money laundering against Ramaphosa and his head of security, General Wally Rhoode, at the Rosebank police station on June 1.

The case triggered a parliamentary panel that was led by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo who found that Ramaphosa had a case to answer and that he may have violated a number of laws.

During the high-profile case on Friday there was a high police presence who were heavily armed with high-calibre rifles and roads leading to court cordoned off.

Froliana, who is accused number two, denied any involvement in saying the state's case was “weak”.

In her application for bail, along with her brother, through their lawyer, Mike Makgobu, the former domestic worker denied the charges and asserted that the State’s case had been weak or they had not investigated enough.

She pleaded with Magistrate Predeshni Poonan that she had a minor child who had a chronic disease. “My child has a chronic condition, and if my incarceration is prolonged it will be detrimental to my child.

“I deny any involvement, and I request that it be taken into account the period that I have been here and the interests of my child,” she said through the lawyer.

Her brother, who is accused number three, also denied any involvement while pressuring for bail, saying the State’s case was questionable.

The State did not oppose bail for the Joseph siblings, but gave stringent bail conditions such as the handing over of passports and a R5,000 bail for Froliana, while they asked for R10,000 from Ndilinasho.

David’s legal representative according to Senior State advocate Nkhetheni Gerald Munyai made a call to him that he would not make it.

“I received a call that his (David’s) lawyer will not make it to court today,” Munyai said.

Magistrate Poonan postponed the case to consider the aspects of the matter.

The trio are charged with conspiracy to commit housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, housebreaking with intent to steal, theft, and money laundering.

Sunday Independent