Friday 23 April 2021, 05:23am/ Lebona Lekoena
ANC veteran and Billionaire businessman Tokyo Sexwale during a press conference which was held at Riboville Boutique Hotel and Restaurant in the Waterfall Equestrian Estate, near Midrand: image supplied
Johannesburg: ANC veteran and Billionaire businessman Tokyo Sexwale is sticking to his guns that billions of donor funds were stolen from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and channelled to 18 local commercial banks including various prominent business people in the country.
Sexwale who was addressing media on Thursday afternoon at the Riboville Boutique Hotel and Restaurant in the Waterfall Equestrian Estate, near Midrand, reacted to the National Treasury and SARB statement which indicated there was no such cash under the care of the reserve bank and that he had been scammed.
However Sexwale reiterated comments he made during an interview on eNCA’s Truth to Power talk show hosted by JJ Tabane that an undisclosed owner of the money, deposited cash into the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland, with the view of assisting with philanthropic and humanitarian needs of all governments in Africa and Indian ocean Island States.
According to Sexwale, the cash deposited amounted to 12 zeros in US currency and were supposed to be used to improve infrastructure, free education announced by former president Jacob Zuma a few hours before the start of the ANC elective conference in December 2017.
He said the cash was also supposed to be used for the procurement of bullet trains which President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his statement nation address in 2019.
He reiterated that both Zuma and Ramaphosa were aware of the cash under the custody of the central bank.
Despite the central bank denying the existence of the cash, Sexwale insisted that the bank was the “hub of money laundering” saying South Africa was the only country in Africa which accessed the cash from BIS into their care.
“The money was then transferred to 18 commercial banks in the country including into the personal accounts of prominent individuals. All these crimes happened at the Reserve Bank. Now they say Tokyo was scammed,” he said.
“I called, like a fool, from office to office. I sent these WhatsApps, and it’s all silent,” said the former Gauteng Premier, who said he was in regular WhatsApp contact with President Cyril Ramaphosa before he started working for the fund.
In a veil attack on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Sexwale said if indeed he was scammed, Mboweni had a responsibility to report such a scam to the police.
Sexwale also gave a detailed account of how in February 2019 he made his own ANC’s party bosses, especially Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile, aware about the existence of the funds.
He also said that he elevated this to Minister Mboweni and Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago.
According to him, the “thieves” were now returning the same cash to the country allegedly in a form of investment following President Ramaphosa’s numerous calls for International Investments in the local economy.
But according to him, no genuine people or institutions would invest in South Africa after the country suffered a number of financial downgrades.
“The people who are purporting to be investing in South Africa are the very same people who stole the donor funds from the Reserve Bank,” Sexwale insisted.
In a diatribe that lasted almost two-and-a-half hours – Sexwale insisted it was not a press conference, but a “journey” he was taking journalists on, the former presidential hopeful express sorrow about the fact that he failed to use his high-level political connections as former minister and Gauteng premier to persuade the South African government to use the money in the fund he represented.
The money, he said, could have been used to build huge infrastructure projects, make education free across the board, and extend the Covid-19 social grant to R2 700.
Also at the press conference, sitting in a row second from the back, was Fanie Fondse, a Reserve Bank shareholder. Who also confirmed that there was a sum with “more than 15 zeros on it” in the “Heritage Fund”, which had disappeared and that he had brought charges on the matter last week.
With reference presumably to Sexwale, the Hawks in a statement confirmed that “a case of fraud, alternatively theft, was opened with regards to the so-called Heritage Fund as reported by the complainant”.
Hawks Spokesperson Katlego Mogale said: “It is too early in the investigation to speculate as to who the role players are.”
He said the names of “suspects or persons of interest” would only be revealed when allegations have been properly investigated and the suspects have been before court.
Fondse, earlier this week, laid charges against Ramaphosa for what he said was corruption related to Shanduka, a company in which Ramaphosa was a shareholder.
He claimed the Free State government gave Shanduka a contract in 2015 to build schools in the province.
Ramaphosa has dismissed all the material facts in this claim, saying Shanduka never had a contract in that province.
The ANC’s national executive committee has set the end of the month as a deadline for corruption-charged leaders to step down.
This would include ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, whose supporters have argued that Ramaphosa should step down too.
However Webb was absent from the press conference, despite promises to the contrary, with Sexwale hinting that he was “very old” and might have gone to see a doctor.
Meanwhile The National Treasury and the Reserve Bank said they did not want to comment on the latest allegations by Sexwale but maintained that they stood by their statement denying the existence of such funds.