South Africa

Ramaphosa must respond to Central Bank on farm heist by 8 September

Cyril Ramaphosa

South Africa’s central bank asked legal advisers for President Cyril Ramaphosa to respond by 8 September to requests for further information as it probes the theft of an unspecified foreign currency from a game farm he owns.

The Financial Surveillance Department, which administers exchange-control regulations, expects to proceed with its investigation once the responses are received, Governor Lesetja Kganyago said in a letter to the opposition Democratic Alliance on Tuesday. The party forwarded the letter to Bloomberg by mobile phone.

The theft at Ramaphosa’s farm in the northern Limpopo province in February 2020 was revealed in June by the former head of the State Security Agency, Arthur Fraser, who filed charges against the president for allegedly concealing the crime. Fraser claimed that $4 million was stolen.

The FSD initially asked Ramaphosa’s advisers on June 20 for details on the origin of the foreign currency and any transaction it may pertain to, according to Kganyago’s letter.

After being given 21 days to respond with a 15-day extension, the department received responses from the advisers to which the request for further information was sent, he said.

Ramaphosa has declined to answer lawmakers’ questions about the incident, including at a parliamentary session on Tuesday, and said the law must be allowed to take its course.

The South African Police Services’ Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, said it had obtained 41 statements last week as part of its ongoing investigation into the matter.

The FSD’s Sept. 8 deadline will come a day before opposition parties are set to march to the office of the anti-graft ombudsman to demand the release of its report on the incident.

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