Note: This story has since developed. Read the latest News24 article here:
Libyan military authorities have asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to help recover a stash of cash, estimated to about R442m, belonging to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, that is now believed to be in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), according to The Sunday Times.
The newspaper reports that the money was secretly moved to Eswatini earlier this year from former president Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence where it had been hidden.
A high-ranking intelligence source told the Sunday Times that its investigations had revealed that the money had been moved in five tranches from Nkandla and transported to Eswatini.
King Mswati III reportedly confirmed the existence of the money to Ramaphosa last week during a meeting at OR Tambo International Airport.
According to the Sunday Times' sources, Zuma travelled to Libya in 2011 with then intelligence minister Siyabonga Cwele, where the delegation offered the Libyan leader safe passage to SA as rebel forces closed in.
According to an insider, Gaddafi gave Zuma the cash, saying that if he was captured Zuma must find him a good lawyer to represent him at the International Criminal Court.
Gaddafi died while being chased by rebels in Tripoli in October 2011.
The Sunday Times was unable to get comment from Zuma's spokesperson, Vukile Mathabela.
Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko confirmed that the president had travelled to Eswatini last month but would not confirm what transpired at that meeting with the King or at the subsequent meeting at the airport.
In 2013, IOL reported that Zuma told the National Assembly he knew nothing about the billions of dollars of Libyan money that Gaddafi and his family were believed to have stashed in South Africa and neighbouring countries during his 42-year rule. This is after he was approached by officials from the Libyan government.
Soon after Gaddafi's death, the new Libyan government had embarked on a large-scale mission to recover legal and illegal assets in South Africa, the rest of Africa, the US and Europe.
In 2014, it was revealed that as much as R2 trillion in US dollars as well as hundreds of tons of gold and at least six million carats of diamonds in assets belonging to the people of Libya was been kept secretly in various warehouses across the country.
This was separate from the R260bn, held legally in four banks in the country, according to IOL.
Meanwhile the DA has called on the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate the reports.
"It is completely unacceptable that Zuma remains free after aiding the late North African dictator and the NPA must act swiftly on these reports to ascertain their accuracy," DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi said in a statement.
The party called on Ramaphosa to take the country into his confidence and come clean about the money, saying reports had indicated he had intimate knowledge into the dealings of Zuma.
"The President needs to aid in recovering these millions and to ensure that the National Prosecuting Authority holds Zuma accountable for his actions," Malatsi said.
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