Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has described a Business Day report which said the DA had distanced itself from the investigation into money laundering allegations against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC presidential campaign as “misleading” and seeking to “distort the truth”.
The report further claimed the DA did not ask Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane to probe the claims.
“At no stage has the DA distanced itself from this investigation or the contents thereof,” Maimane said in a statement on Monday.
The DA had previously pushed for the public protector to investigate a R500 000 donation from embattled facilities management company Bosasa, based on Ramaphosa’s parliamentary reply to Maimane last year.
In his reply, Ramaphosa initially said the payment was made to his son Andile for consulting work but he then backtracked on this, writing to the speaker of the National Assembly to correct his response.
Ramaphosa was reported as having said at the time: “I have been subsequently informed that the payment referred to…does not relate to that contract.
“I have been told that the payment to which the leader of the opposition referred was made on behalf of Mr Gavin Watson into a trust account that was used to raise funds for a campaign established to support my candidature for the presidency of the African National Congress.”
In the DA’s initial complaint dated November 23 2018, Maimane raised the suspicion of money laundering as follows:
“The nature of the payment, passing through several intermediaries, does not accord with a straightforward donation and raises the suspicion of money laundering. The alleged donor is further widely reported to have received billions of Rands in state tenders, often in irregular fashion.”
The Sunday Times reported that Mkhwebane was investigating Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign — which was his campaign for the ANC presidency — for alleged money laundering. This reportedly came after Mkhwebane examined three bank accounts linked to the president as part of her probe.
In response to this report, Ramaphosa’s former campaign manager Bejani Chauke issued a statement refuting claims that the campaign was being probed for money laundering.
“In the process [of funds being donated and used], all legal and regulatory requirements were met. There is no basis whatsoever for even a suspicion of money laundering,” Chauke said.
Chauke added that former campaign managers have been “assisting the public protector in her investigation and have been available to explain the nature of the campaign’s operations and funding.”
In a statement on Monday, Mkhwebane said she was “dumbfounded at emerging claims by the Democratic Alliance and the CR17 campaign managers that she was never asked to investigate allegations of money laundering” in relation to the Bosasa donation.
Mkhwebane also said that the scope of the investigation was discussed at length with Maimane after he filed his complaint and that he had no issues. Mkhwebane further noted that her office is obligated to probe beyond the issues raised in complaints if deemed necessary.
“The public protector should not be bound by or limited to the issues raised for consideration and determination by the parties but should investigate further and discover the truth and also inspire confidence that the truth has been discovered,” Mkhwebane said.
Read the public protector’s statement here:
Read Maimane’s initial complaint to the public protector: