South Africa’s main opposition party requests FBI investigate nation’s president

President Cyril Ramaphosa says money stolen from his farm was not from taxpayers

2022-06-22 00:00:07

JOHANNESBURG

South Africa's main opposition party said it has written to the South African branch of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to probe possible allegations of money laundering against President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The FBI are tasked with investigating white-collar corruption and money laundering involving the use of US dollars,” Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen told reporters Monday.

The announcement by the DA comes two weeks after former spy boss Arthur Fraser filed a criminal complaint against Ramaphosa, accusing him of money laundering and not reporting a robbery at his farm.

Fraser claims up to $4 million was robbed from the farm in the Northern Limpopo province. The robbery, which took place two years ago, only came to light two weeks ago.

The news has created outrage among South Africans, who question why there was so much foreign currency at the president's farm.

Steenhuisen said it was important for the FBI to investigate how the money ended up in South Africa and whether it was brought in legitimately or laundered.

“I think the longer the president stays silent on this issue, the more people will call him to step aside. We are not yet calling on him to step aside yet, we want to give him the benefit of the doubt to come clean and tell us his side of the story, " he said.

Not taxpayers' money

Ramaphosa said the money was less than the $4 million claimed by Fraser and it was from the proceeds from the sale of the game at his farm and not from taxpayers.

“I have never stolen taxpayers' money. I want to reaffirm that I was not involved in any criminal conduct, and once again I pledge my full cooperation with any form of investigation,” said Ramaphosa, who is well known for his tough stance on corruption.

The farm breeds some of the most expensive game on the continent.

Steenhuisen said he has recommended the FBI look at the ledgers or journals, which recorded the alleged sale of wild game at the auction of Ramaphosa's farm to determine the identities of those involved in the suspicious cash transactions.