The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has concluded its year-long investigation into the controversial Phala Phala money laundering scandal – finding that President Cyril Ramaphosa was not “legally entitled” to the $580,000 (R11m) his game farm received from Sudanese businessman Hazim Mustafa.
The investigation, which was initiated following allegations by former spy boss, Arthur Fraser in June 2022.
Today, the Reserve Bank said that it had finalised its investigation and report into the Phala Phala matter on August 14.
The SARB report says that the transaction was not “perfected” as Mustafa never received delivery of the 20 buffalo.
This means that there was no legal obligation on Ramaphosa or Ntaba Nyoni – the entity involved – to have declared the foreign currency under exchange control regulations.
Despite the clamour for transparency, the Reserve Bank said it would keep the report private, citing legislative constraints.
The heart of the investigation revolved around potential violations of the Exchange Control Regulations of 1961, specifically concerning foreign currency purportedly stolen from the Phala Phala farm in early 2020.
The SARB has been investigating allegations that millions in foreign currency had been stuffed into a sofa at Ramaphosa’s farm – and that the money had not been declared.
Ramaphosa has admitted to the burglary taking place but insists that a criminal complaint by Fraser that he had tried to cover up the burglary was false.
In a statement today, the SARB said its Financial Surveillance Department (FinSurv) spearheaded the investigation, analysing cross-border foreign exchange transactions, liaising with various authorities, and conducting formal interviews.
“Following this investigation, the SARB has found that there was no ‘perfected transaction’ and, as such, cannot conclude that there was any breach of the Exchange Control Regulations by Ntaba Nyoni Estates CC – the entity involved – or even the president,” the SARB statement read.
“The bank’s stance is that the transaction in question was contingent on conditions that were never met, negating any legal entitlement to the foreign currency by Ntaba Nyoni Estates CC.”
The Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago is set to address Parliament on the matter.