Africa-Press – South-Africa. The DA is turning up the political pressure on Cyril Ramaphosa, with the party requesting the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probe the president for money laundering.
The DA wrote to the US agency on Monday to ask it to investigate Ramaphosa in connection with the burglary at his Phala Phala farm, in Limpopo, in February 2020.
A group of men allegedly stole $4 million from the farm. DA leader John Steenhuisen said there was a lot of suspicion as to why Ramaphosa had foreign currency stashed at his home.
He said the FBI had the legal authority to track the use of US currency, and the party hoped it would probe Ramaphosa.
“Specifically, we have requested that the FBI considers investigating the source of the funds and whether the money was brought into South Africa legitimately and declared to the appropriate authorities,” Steenhuisen said at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
“We have recommended that the ledgers or journals, which would have recorded the alleged sale of wild game at auction, be requested from the president to determine the identities of those involved in the suspicious cash transactions.
“A cash transaction within South Africa involving $4 million is deeply suspicious, and more so since the cash was then hidden in furniture, and its theft investigated off-the-record and covered up.”
In addition to the FBI, the DA has written to several other agencies regarding what the party believes are severe criminal and constitutional implications.
Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa had refused to account for the ethical and legal questions about the robbery, and that the DA had to act to ensure those with the legal power do the work.
The DA, however, has stopped short of joining other political parties in calling for Ramaphosa to step aside.
Steenhuisen said it was also worth investigating whether Ramaphosa had breached his oath of office by undertaking “paid work in running the farm for profits”.
The DA wrote to the Financial Intelligence Centre about whether it was aware of the purchases made from the burglary proceeds. The party also asked the SA Revenue Service (SARS) to probe any violation of the country’s tax laws.
On the constitutional and ethical questions, the DA wrote to the Secretary of Cabinet, Phindile Baleni, for Ramaphosa’s declaration of financial interests to be made public.
The DA also wants the Public Protector to probe whether Ramaphosa had violated the Executive Members’ Ethics Code by not reporting the crime to the police and using his protection detail to investigate the matter.
The Public Protector is already investigating a similar complaint filed by the African Transformation Movement.
Other steps taken by the DA include requesting that Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille inform as to any “upgrades to Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm”.
“He used his own VIP protection unit to go and peruse his interests and money, I think that is a conflict of interest between his interest and his position as president of the country.
“Let Parliament and other institutions in this country decide whether or not he should be impeached,” Steenhuisen said.
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