Former spy boss and prisons commissioner Arthur Fraser has laid charges of money laundering, kidnapping and corruption against President Cyril Ramaphosa over the alleged theft of $4-million at the head of state’s home in 2020. Police national spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe confirmed that “a case of money laundering, defeating the ends of justice and kidnapping” had been registered at the Rosebank station in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Fraser, whose contract as national prisons commissioner was not renewed when it came to an end this year, was responsible for releasing former president Jacob Zuma on medical parole in September after he was jailed for contempt of court for 15 months for refusing to return to the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.
The high court subsequently declared Fraser’s decision unlawful.
Fraser said he had laid charges under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. He said supporting evidence including photographs, bank accounts, video footage and names, had been handed to Rosebank police, along with his statement.
Fraser said the charges related to the theft of $4-million (R62-million) “concealed” at the president’s farm in the Waterberg region of Limpopo on 9 February 2020. The charges would include defeating the ends of justice, kidnapping of suspects, their interrogation on his property and bribery.
“The president concealed the crime from the SAPS [South African Police Service] and the South African Revenue Service and thereafter paid the culprits for their silence.”
He said Ramaphosa’s conduct and that of others involved constituted a breach of anti-corruption laws. “I trust that the police and the prosecuting authorities will investigate this matter without fear or favour. I also trust that the president will take the nation into his confidence and accept or deny that the events I describe in my affidavit occurred on his property,” he added.
Fraser’s role in the abuse of the state security apparatus under Zuma came under the microscope at the Zondo commission.
He, in turn, has hit back by laying charges against a number of people who had given testimony implicating him in acts of corruption. Fraser’s lawyers have written to the National Prosecuting Authority demanding an update on progress in investigating charges he laid against Ramaphosa’s former state security adviser, Sydney Mufamadi, former State Security Agency director general Loyiso Jafta and operatives Ms K and Mr Y about their evidence. Charges of subornation of perjury were laid against commission evidence leader Paul Pretorius SC and team member advocate Veruschka September.
The presidency noted that it was aware of the charges laid by Fraser and confirmed that a robbery took place at Ramaphosa’s farm while he was out of the country. The robbery had been reported to the SAPS at the time. It said there was “no basis” for Fraser’s claims of criminal conduct by the president.
If the president is arrested before the ANC’s conference in December, this could prevent him from standing for a second term as party president because of its step-aside rule.
While several ANC leaders, including secretary general Ace Magashule have been affected by the rule, others, among them eThekwini chairperson Zandile Gumede, have still contested for party posts after being charged and forced to step aside.