The US dollars hidden inside a couch on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm were never declared to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) upon entering South Africa, it has been revealed today.
Despite claims that SARS requirements had been complied with, the revenue service today confirmed that “the record does not exist and/or cannot be found.”
DA Leader John Steenhuisen explained in a statement on Monday morning:
“Towards the end of last year, Ramaphosa claimed that he had received US$580 000 from one Hazim Mustafa, a Sudanese national, as payment for cattle as part of a legitimate business transaction.
“In turn, Mustafa claimed in a media interview that he had complied with the requirement to declare the money to SARS officials at OR Tambo airport upon entering South Africa.
The SARS customs policy on excess currency stipulates that “every person must declare” foreign currency upon arrival in the country. Failure to adhere to this provision is an offence that may be criminally prosecuted.”
To verify Ramaphosa and Mustafa’s claims that this was a legitimate business transaction using foreign currency that had legally entered the country, Steenhuisen on 7 December 2022 submitted a PAIA request to SARS to obtain the “relevant currency declaration forms that Mr. Hazim Mustafa submitted to declare the US$580 000 that he was bringing into the country.”
Steenhuisen said the DA received SARS’ response this morning confirming “the record does not exist and/or cannot be found.” He said this was accompanied by an affidavit from Siyabonga Nkabinde, a legal specialist in SARS’ corporate legal services department.
In his affidavit, Nkabinde confirms that “On or around 17 January 2023, I commenced engagements with various business units within SARS that I believed may be in the custody and/or be in possession and/or have knowledge of the record requested and was advised that pursuant to the search for the record in various SARS Passenger Processing Systems the record could not be found and/or may not be in existence.”
“… the President of South Africa had hidden dirty dollars…”
“The response by SARS means that we now know that the President of South Africa had hidden dirty dollars, which had entered the country illegally, inside a couch on his game farm.
“It renders Ramaphosa’s claim that these funds were merely the proceeds of a business transaction impossible to believe, because legitimate business transactions are usually not hidden from SARS inside a couch.
“It now seems more likely than ever that Ramaphosa may have been in possession of these dirty dollars for a corrupt, illicit or criminal purpose.
“The information also adds further credence to the findings of the Section 89 panel’s report that there exists prima facie evidence that Ramaphosa may have violated the Constitution, the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, as well as his oath of office.”
The ANC last year rejected the panel’s report and Ramaphosa vowed to overturn it in court. However, the Constitutional Court last week denied him direct access to challenge the panel’s findings.
“Should Ramaphosa turn to another court in his desperate bid to avoid accountability for his possession of dirty dollars and the subsequent coverup of the theft at Phala Phala, the DA will introduce this new information from SARS as evidence that the panel’s report must stand,” said Steenhuisen.
“We will also submit this information to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as yet another reason why she must accede to the DA’s request for the urgent establishment of an ad hoc committee to fully expose the truth behind the President’s dirty dollars.”