'Utterly irrational, not based on law, inconsistent with facts' - Ramaphosa on Mkhwebane's Bosasa findings

'I never benefited financially. In fact, I donated significant amounts': Ramaphosa on CR17 campaign

01 August 2019 - 14:16 By Qaanitah Hunter
President Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking an urgent review of public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report that found he misled parliament, violated the executive ethics code and acted inconsistently with his office in relation to a campaign donation from Bosasa boss Gavin Watson.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking an urgent review of public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report that found he misled parliament, violated the executive ethics code and acted inconsistently with his office in relation to a campaign donation from Bosasa boss Gavin Watson.
Image: ALON SKUY

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the North Gauteng high court that public protector Busiswe Mkhwebane got so much wrong in her report implicating him, that she even miscalculated the amounts paid into the accounts of the CR17 campaign.

She even “double-counted the same amounts in some instances”, he said.

Ramaphosa lashed out at Mkhwebane, saying the way she approached her investigation into whether he misled parliament was “unfortunate and leaves a lot to be desired”.

Ramaphosa said in his affidavit filed on Wednesday that Mkhwebane acted irrationally, got the law wrong and acted out of her jurisdiction.

The president is seeking an urgent review of Mkhwebane’s report that found Ramaphosa misled parliament, violated the executive ethics code and acted inconsistently with his office in relation to a 2017 donation Bosasa boss Gavin Watson made to his ANC presidential campaign.

Mkhwebane also found prima facie evidence of money laundering in the over R400m in donations made to the CR17 campaign.

Mkhwebane’s findings noted that an amount of more than R191m was deposited into the EFG2 Absa account between December 2016 and January 2018. During the same period, R190,108,277 was transferred out of the account. Between January 2017 and February 2019 close to R400m was deposited into and withdrawn from the Ria Tenda Trust.

"About R335,738.42 was transferred from the account into the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation between July 20 2017 and March 26 2018. Of all the donations for the campaign, records reflect that there were three single largest donations of R30m on March 9 2017: R39,620,000 on September 29 2017 and R51,506,000 on the same date into the EFG2 Absa account, which came from the same donor."

Ramaphosa told the court that Mkhwebane’s report was not based on facts.

“The public protector misunderstood the flow of the funds, miscalculated the amounts paid, double-counted the same amounts in certain instances, referred to incorrect time periods and misunderstood the relationships between the various entities,” he said.

Ramaphosa maintained his argument that Mkhwebane did not have authority to investigate the CR17 campaign, adding that there was no factual or legal basis for Mkhwebane’s funding that Ramaphosa was duty-bound to disclose the CR17 donations.

“In any event, I had no personal entitlement to the donations made to the campaign and therefore no basis to declare them as mine,” Ramaphosa said.

He said told the court that Mkhwebane did not have the jurisdiction to investigate donations made to an ANC internal campaign.

“Those donations do not implicate the state, public administration or public affairs in any manner whatsoever. They are donations made to the campaign. The ANC is a voluntary association. The relationship between the party and its members is private and contractual,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the donations in question was never made to him but to a political campaign.

“I never benefited financially. In fact, I donated significant amounts to the campaign personally.”

Ramaphosa said that the public protector conducted her investigation from an incorrect premise and as a result, her findings were irrational.

“The finding that I either wilfully or inadvertently misled parliament is utterly irrational and wholly inconsistent with the evidence. It stands to be set aside on that basis,” he said.


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