Ramaphosa's R500k 'Bosasa donation' on ice, ready for AFU

2019-02-01 08:23
Paul O'Sullivan. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, file)

Paul O'Sullivan. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, file)

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Campaign managers for President Cyril Ramaphosa's 2017 ANC presidential campaign will not oppose any attempt by the Asset Forfeiture Unit to seize the R500 000 donated by Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson, should the unit choose to move in.

Watson's donation, which is likely "tainted" and possibly the proceeds of crime, has been placed in an attorney's trust account pending the outcome of legal reviews on the matter.

This is revealed in an email from the founder of Forensics for Justice, Paul O'Sullivan, to Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, in response to a Public Access to Information Application filed by Maimane's office to Ramaphosa's son, Andile, seeking more details of the business agreement between Ramaphosa junior and Bosasa.

O'Sullivan's email, dated 31 January 2019, is addressed to Maimane, the EFF's Dali Mpofu, as well as a member of Parliament's ethics committee and the Public Protector's office.

Ramaphosa met with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwebane on Tuesday to discuss Watson's donation, which she is probing.

READ: Ramaphosa to meet Public Protector over Bosasa payment

The DA's PAIA request, dated 21 January, sought details of the agreement between Blue Crane Capital, which belongs to Ramaphosa Jr, and African Global Operations, previously known as Bosasa.

"[Andile Ramaphosa] has absolutely nothing to hide, and despite the multiple material defects in your request, he will treat same as if it was properly constructed," O'Sullivan's email reads.

He confirms that he "acts for Andile Ramaphosa in a pro bono capacity".

O'Sullivan attaches a copy of the agreement between Ramaphosa's company and Bosasa, titled "AGO Advisory Mandate", which is dated December 2017 – days before the December 2017 Nasrec ANC elective conference decided on a new leader.

In a contradiction to claims that Ramaphosa Jr had nothing to hide, he did not provide invoices for payments from Bosasa to his company, citing privacy reasons.

READ: Ramaphosa's son denies receiving R500 000 Bosasa payment

The agreement was currently under review by Ramaphosa Jr and African Global Operations.

The email then also delves into the issue of the R500 000 donation to the CR17 campaign.

"When you raised the matter in Parliament, the President (wrongly) assumed that you were referring to payments received by his son, but he had no knowledge of what those payments might be. Although he had heard there was an advisory agreement in place, [he had] not been given a copy," O'Sullivan wrote.

"His response made, was therefore a genuine error, as he had no first-hand knowledge."

Ramaphosa originally told the National Assembly, in response to a supplementary question from Maimane, that he had spoken with his son, Andile, and had assured himself that the payment was above board.

A week later, however, Ramaphosa corrected this in a letter to Speaker Baleka Mbete, saying he didn't have all the available information at hand when he responded and that it had since emerged the funds were actually a donation to his 2017 ANC presidential campaign.

This caused opposition parties to accuse Ramaphosa of lying to Parliament.

READ: FACT CHECKED - DA claims over Bosasa/Ramaphosa contract denial misleading

O'Sullivan also attaches a proof of payment showing that R500 000 had been paid into a trust account held by Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys.

The funds would remain there "pending a finalisation as to what should legally happen to the funds".

O'Sullivan sent a copy of the proof of payment to the Hawks with a request they pass the information to the AFU "in case they have an interest".

News24 previously revealed how Watson concealed the donation by funnelling the money through a front company, Miotto Trading and Advisory Holdings, whose sole director is Margaret Longworth.

Longworth is the sister of Peet Venter, whose affidavit Maimane used to confront Ramaphosa over the R500 000 payment.

READ: Bosasa CEOs 'hidden' R500k donation to Ramaphosa deconstructed 

Venter claims in the December 2017 affidavit that Watson told him the funds were for the benefit of Andile Ramaphosa, but subsequently it was revealed that Venter transferred the funds from Watson's personal bank account to Miotto and then on to a trust account held by Edelstein Farber Grobler attorneys.

The account, EFG2, was used to house the CR17 campaign funds.

"We are satisfied that neither Mr Andile Ramaphosa, his father, or the Campaign Manager of CR 17, have in any way acted unlawfully. To the contrary, upon discovering what has happened, they have taken proper and reasonable steps to extract themselves from any association that may create reputational risk," O'Sullivan states.

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Read more on:    afu  |  bosasa  |  anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  andile ramaphosa  |  gavin watson  |  paul o'sullivan  |  state capture  |  politics
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