South Africa

Ombudsman has no jurisdiction to probe $4 million robbery – Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told the nation’s ombudsman she has no jurisdiction to probe a complaint made against him about a 2020 robbery at his game farm, the Sunday Times reported.

Ramaphosa said the complaint, lodged more than two years after the incident, was beyond the statute of limitations set by the nation’s Public Protector Act, the Times reported, without saying where it got the information.

Ramaphosa, in June, was accused of covering up the theft of more than $4 million in foreign exchange from the sale of animals at his Phala Phala Wildlife farm. The money was said to be hidden inside furniture at the ranch north of Pretoria.

An opposition leader made the complaint to the ombudswoman shortly after. Under South African law, the public protector has the discretion, under special circumstances, to consider complaints lodged after the two-year window.

A presidential spokesperson declined to comment to the Sunday Times.

The months-long scandal and its string of negative headlines have undermined support for Ramaphosa, who’d otherwise been in a strong position to return as president of the governing African National Congress when it holds an elective conference in December.

The president has refused to answer questions about the game farm incident posed to him by lawmakers but has denied wrongdoing and said he’s cooperating with investigators.

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