Ramaphosa’s stolen millions an inside job, and the subsequent cover-up
Ramaphosa's helper allegedly found the cash stash, photographed it, and sent it to her brother, who then conspired to rob the president.
Picture: edited by Narissa Subramoney , using images from Stud Game Breeders and Phala Phala Wildlife.
Reports by investigative journalists at amaBhungane and City Press has shed more light on a robbery that took place on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s privately-owned Phala Phala game reserve in Limpopo in 2020.
Last week, former State Security Agency boss – and well-known supporter of former President Jacob Zuma – dropped a bombshell when he filed criminal charges against Ramaphosa.
In filing the charges, Fraser acknowledged that ‘it was no small matter to charge a sitting president,’ but said police must investigate Ramaphosa, Presidential Protection Unit head Major General Wally Rhoode and crime intelligence officials on charges of money laundering, contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and corruption.
The cash was stashed inside furniture on the farm
According to City Press and amaBhungane reports, Fraser’s 48-page affidavit, which was handed over to Rosebank Police, states that a domestic worker had discovered an undisclosed sum of US dollars concealed in the furniture on Phala Phala farm.
The worker then allegedly took photographs of the cash stash and sent it to her brother, who allegedly conspired with members of a crime syndicate to rob the president.
It’s understood the foreign currency cash stashed on the farm was in excess of US$4 million (approximately R61.8 million).
Fraser’s affidavit point to evidence of the heist being captured by numerous CCTV cameras stationed inside and outside Phala Phala farm.
Intricate details of the crime were captured, including entry points into the farm and subsequently inside the home.
The president, who was in Addis Ababa attending an African Union summit at the time, was informed of the break-in and subsequently reported the incident to the head of the Presidential Protection Unit of the SA Police Service for investigation.
How the cash was recovered and the heist hushed up
Phala Phala farm workers were fiercely interrogated until one of the cleaners cracked and revealed details surrounding the heist.
Fraser’s affidavit also points out that Rhoode’s (PPU head) traced the suspects to Cape Town and Namibia using state resources.
The suspects were apprehended and brought back to the farm where Major General Rhoode’s team confiscated large sums of money and valuables from the suspects.
City Press reports the cleaner at the centre of the robbery was dismissed, but later reinstated after Ramaphosa and her father spoke about the matter.
Fraser’s accusing Major Rhoode’s team of paying off the suspects a sum of R150,000 cash each in exchange for silence, allegedly on the president’s orders.
Fraser said the payoff amounted to corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
He also wants investigations into the origins of the cash to be investigated as various fiscal, currency, exchange control, custom and excise laws and regulations had potentially been violated.
“The mere fact that President Ramaphosa had large undisclosed sums of foreign currency in the form of US dollars concealed in his furniture at his Phala Phala residence is prima facie proof of money laundering,” said Fraser in the affidavit.
The amaBhungane report suggests the only reasonable explanation for Fraser’s allegations is because investigation’s into the handling of the robbery would reveal that either the President or Rhoode — or members of their respective teams — had committed crimes in the aftermath of the robbery.
Whether or not Ramaphosa was aware of how the case was investigated, the PPU’S handling of the matter may have placed the president in a vulnerable position, which Fraser has chosen to exploit now.
In a statement, Ramaphosa acknowledged the public interest and concern about Fraser’s claims, reaffirming that he was not involved in any criminal conduct.
He has pledged to fully cooperate with any police investigation.
The DA has since asked Sars to investigate whether the president had evaded paying taxes on the cash proceeds from game sales.