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‘Farmgate’ threatens Cyril Ramaphosa’s South Africa re-election bid
|Last Edited||IndyGeorgia Jun 17, 2022 02:03pm|
|News Date||Friday, June 17, 2022 06:30:00 PM UTC0:0|
|Description||The South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is facing the most serious personal challenge of his four years in power after claims he tried to cover up the theft of millions of US dollars hidden at his game farm. |
The scandal – labelled Farmgate by South African media – could potentially derail Ramaphosa’s efforts to win a second term in power and destabilise Africa’s most developed economy.
Ramaphosa has not been formally charged with any crime, but a police spokesperson confirmed authorities had started investigating the allegations made against the president.
The claims, made by a former head of South Africa’s intelligence agency, centre on a burglary in February 2020 at an expansive commercial game farm owned by Ramaphosa in the north-eastern province of Limpopo. At least $4m in cash was taken by burglars who broke in and found the money in cushions on sofas.
Arthur Fraser, who was appointed by Ramaphosa’s predecessor Jacob Zuma, told police in a criminal complaint lodged earlier this month that the suspects in the robbery had been tracked down, abducted by Ramaphosa’s presidential protection unit, interrogated, and then bribed to keep quiet about the existence of the cash.
Ramaphosa said he wanted a full investigation to take place before answering questions about theft. The allegations could lead to prosecution for tax evasion or a variety of criminal charges that would at the very least be extremely embarrassing for the president and undermine any efforts to tackle endemic graft in South Africa.
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