The DA has revealed that the US dollars hidden inside a couch on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm was not declared to the SA Revenue Service.
Party leader John Steenhuisen said Sars had confirmed that the money entered the country illegally.
“The information also adds further credence to the findings of the Section 89 panel’s report that there exists prima facie evidence that Ramaphosa may have violated the Constitution, the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, as well as his oath of office. The ANC last year abused its majority in the National Assembly to reject the panel’s report and Ramaphosa vowed to overturn it in court,” he said.
Information obtained during a probe by Independent Media’s investigation team, the Falcons, showed at least $4 million was stolen at Phala Phala.
The DA said the Sars customs policy on excess currency stipulated that “every person must declare” foreign currency upon arrival in the country. Failure to adhere to the provision was an offence that may be criminally prosecuted.
Steenhuisen said that to verify Ramaphosa and Mustafa’s claims that it had been was a legitimate business transaction using foreign currency that had legally entered the country, he submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act request to Sars to obtain the “relevant currency declarations forms that Mustafa submitted to declare the money, in December last year.
Hazim Mustafa, a citizen of Sudan, is said to have bought buffalo from Ramaphosa’s farm.
This was accompanied by an affidavit from Siyabonga Nkabinde, a legal specialist in Sars’s corporate legal services department.
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In his affidavit, Nkabinde confirms that “On or around 17 January 2023, I commenced engagements with various business units within Sars that I believed may be in the custody and/or be in possession and/or have knowledge of the record requested and was advised that pursuant to the search for the record in various Sars Passenger Processing Systems the record could not be found and/or may not be in existence.”
Steenhuisen said: “The response by Sars means that we now know that the president of South Africa had hidden dirty dollars, which had entered the country illegally, inside a couch on his game farm.
“It renders Ramaphosa’s claim that these funds were merely the proceeds of a business transaction impossible to believe, because legitimate business transactions are usually not hidden from Sars inside a couch.
“It now seems more likely than ever that Ramaphosa may have been in possession of these dirty dollars for a corrupt, illicit or criminal purpose.”
He said the information added further credence to the findings of the Section 89 panel’s report that prima facie evidence exists that Ramaphosa may have violated the Constitution, the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and his oath of office.
Steenhuisen said that last year, the ANC abused its majority in the National Assembly to reject the panel’s report and Ramaphosa vowed to overturn it in court.
However, last week, the Constitutional Court denied him direct access to challenge the panel’s findings.
Steenhuisen said that should Ramaphosa turn to another court in his desperate bid to avoid accountability for his possession of dirty dollars and the subsequent cover up of the theft at Phala Phala, the DA would introduce the new information from Sars as evidence that the panel’s report must stand.
“We will also submit this information to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as yet another reason why she must accede to the DA’s request for the urgent establishment of an ad hoc committee to fully expose the truth behind the president’s dirty dollars,” Steenhuisen said.