Cyril lays into Busi

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, through his le­gal coun­sel, ques­tioned Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane’s le­gal ex­per­tise, say­ing she ‘knows noth­ing about money laun­der­ing’ and used the wrong Act in her re­port on his cam­paign fund­ing.

The Citizen (KZN) - - Front Page - Ber­nade e Wicks – bernadet­[email protected]­i­

Mkhwe­bane comes un­der fire for her re­port on Cyril’s cam­paign dona­tions.

‘She doesn’t even know what money laun­der­ing is.”

So said Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa yes­ter­day, through his le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive Wim Tren­grove.

The ju­di­cial re­view of Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane’s con­tentious CR17 re­port kicked off in the High Court in Pre­to­ria.

The re­port was re­leased in July and fo­cused, in part, on a do­na­tion of R500 000 made by Gavin Wat­son – chief ex­ec­u­tive of the now de­funct African Global Op­er­a­tions (AGO), for­merly Bosasa – to­wards Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 cam­paign for the ANC’s top spot. Wat­son died in Au­gust in a car crash.

In the re­port, Mkhwe­bane, a qual­i­fied ad­vo­cate her­self, found, among other things, there was “merit” in the sus­pi­cion of money laun­der­ing.

But Tren­grove said yes­ter­day: “There is no ev­i­dence of money laun­der­ing. At all. Noth­ing what­so­ever.

“The essence of money laun­der­ing is the con­ceal­ment of the pro­ceeds of crime,” he told the court. “If one were to in­ves­ti­gate whether there had been money laun­der­ing in­volved … you would have to look for two things. First, if this money con­sti­tutes the pro­ceeds of crime and sec­ond, if any­one tried to con­ceal it.”

Tren­grove also pointed out Mkhwe­bane had in her re­port and in re­la­tion to money laun­der­ing, quoted from the Cor­rup­tion Act.

“She does not ap­pre­ci­ate that money laun­der­ing is an of­fence cre­ated by sec­tion 4 of the Preven­tion of Or­gan­ised Crime Act,” he said.

The pub­lic pro­tec­tor turned her at­ten­tion to Ramaphosa last year, af­ter then DA leader Mmusi Maimane had pre­sented par­lia­ment with doc­u­ments which showed an amount of R500 000 had been de­posited into an ac­count be­long­ing to Ramaphosa’s son.

The pres­i­dent ini­tially claimed it was in lieu of work car­ried out by his son’s con­sul­tancy firm for AGO, but later con­firmed this was not the case, say­ing he had not known this at the time he gave his first ex­pla­na­tion.

In her re­port, Mkhwe­bane also found that all the dona­tions to the CR17 cam­paign were “some form of spon­sor­ship” of the pres­i­dent “and were there­fore ben­e­fits of a ma­te­rial na­ture to Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa”.

“Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa, as a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date for the ANC po­lit­i­cal party, re­ceived cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions which ben­e­fit­ted him in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity. He was there­fore duty bound to de­clare such fi­nan­cial ben­e­fit ac­cru­ing to him from the cam­paign pledges”.

But said Tren­grove yes­ter­day, the pres­i­dent had, in fact, put R37 mil­lion of his own money to­wards the cam­paign and had, if any­thing, been left out of pocket.

“He was also a very sub­stan­tial donor to the cam­paign and never ac­quired any fi­nan­cial in­ter­est in the dona­tions it re­ceived.”

Mkhwe­bane’s term has, to date, been rid­dled with con­tro­versy. She has been ac­cused of po­lit­i­cal med­dling, as well as mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion, and has suf­fered a string of losses in the courts.

Last month, Na­tional As­sem­bly Speaker Thandi Modise ap­proved DA chief whip Natasha Maz­zone’s mo­tion for par­lia­ment to start the process of re­mov­ing Mkhwe­bane from of­fice.

The case con­tin­ues.

Pic­ture: Gallo Images

Pic­ture: Neil Mc­Cart­ney

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