The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
JOHANNESBURG — Forensics for Justice has published a statement and affidavit indicating why it believes that Andile Ramaphosa (President Cyril Ramaphosa’s son) is not guilty of corruption with regard to alleged kickback payments from the company formerly known as ‘Bosasa’ (now ‘African Global Operations’). In this interview, investigative sleuth Paul O’Sullivan explains in detail why Forensics for Justice is adamant that there’s no wrongdoing on the part of Andile and why Cyril is untainted as well. Of course, the situation is not exactly black and white as Bosasa still comes off poorly amid rather dubious payments it’s made to the likes of ANC MP Vincent Smith. Take a listen. – Gareth van Zyl
I’ve got Paul O’Sullivan of Forensics for Justice on the line with me and we’re going to be talking about allegations around Cyril Ramaphosa and his son, with regards to a controversial company called Bosasa. Paul, thanks for joining me on the podcast.
It’s only a pleasure, Gareth, although we’re just about to get stuck into our Christmas turkey, I do have an hour left so, let’s do it.
Great, well it’s perfect timing then. Let’s take a step back with regards to talking about this because this, to me, looks like a very multi-layered story. With regards to Bosasa then, what has Cyril Ramaphosa and his son, Andile, been accused of exactly here?
Well, different accusations by different people so, what I prefer to do is, Forensics for Justice, as you’re probably aware, is completely apolitical. So, we don’t support any political party and we would not engage in promoting or criticising any political party. So, I prefer to avoid saying who made the accusations but accusations were made that Cyril was corrupt. That he received a R500,000 kickback from Bosasa, and therefore the political party that Cyril represents is still as bad as it was under its previous leader and we had a problem with that.
I’ve known Cyril Ramaphosa myself for well in excess of 20 years and I know that Cyril is not a person that engages in unethical activity. As for his son, his son used to play tenpin-bowling many years ago, before he finished his schooling, with my daughters. They used to play tenpin-bowling at what was then called Randburg Waterfront, so I was shocked when I saw these stories. Now, you may or may not recall that back in August, I think it was, this year we opened a criminal docket against Bosasa. They now call themselves AGO so, what Bosasa did was they changed all their company names and in my opinion, they did that to distance themselves from all the multiple allegations over the years of corruption and malfeasance.
So, we came to the conclusion that, you know what, it doesn’t matter what you call yourselves, it’s still the same entity, it’s still the same company registration number and they still work in the same corruptly obtained contracts. So, we just decided to go for them. We opened a criminal docket against them in, let’s say August or September, and the basis of that criminal docket – we decided although we had a plethora of information and evidence, we decided that if we put all of that information and evidence in the docket it’s going to take years for the investigation to be completed, and so on and so forth.
So, we decided to go for the jugular. In fact, we’ve started learning over the last couple of years that the best thing to do is to filter out, what I call crystal clear allegations that people are easy to deal with, easy to prove so, we honed in on the payments that were made to Vincent Smith who, at the time, was the Deputy Minister for Correctional Services, I think it was Justice, and Correctional Services or whatever. Anyway, Vincent Smith, while he was deputy minister of Correctional Services, and therefore had some sort of an oversight role in terms of what goes on at Correctional Services. While he was doing that, Gavin Watson transferred money and paid for the school fees of his daughter, at Aberystwyth University, and the amount was quite significant. Not only that, we had a sworn statement from somebody else, which clearly indicated that payments were being made at the Mugg & Bean on a weekly basis, large amounts of money, on the West-Rand.
We decided to open a docket and we asked the DPCI to just focus on nothing else other than the payments by Bosasa to Vincent Smith. When we went to the DPCI that was what they call an ‘Enquiry Docket’ and the purpose of an Enquiry Docket is that it’s not on the system and if you’ve got crooked cops in your pocket you can’t figure out whose investigating it and what’s going on. Well, last Monday that Enquiry Docket was registered at Sandton Police Station by the DPCI, as a formal Criminal Docket. Our understanding is that it is now sitting with a prosecutor for a decision on prosecution, and we’re quite content that we’ve made out a case there.
Now, when we opened that docket, we submitted to the Hawks a lot of substantive and prima facie evidence but what we did not do is we did not publish that on our website because we did not want that information to be in the public domain. Now, one of those documents was a sworn statement from someone who is now the present auditor so, he’s gone back into the fold of Bosasa, a chap by the name of Petrus Venter and he made a whole lot of allegations about tax fraud, etcetera. One of the allegations that Petrus Venter made was that he was instructed by Gavin Watson in October 2017, to pay an amount of R500,000 to Andile Ramaphosa and he was given the bank details to pay it to.
We have established that we believe the content of Petrus Venter’s statement is true but the money wasn’t paid to Andile Ramaphosa. It was paid into another company’s name, a company that was in liquidation that shouldn’t have even had a bank account. So, the money was laundered through that company and then it was paid into a lawyer’s trust account, which happened to be the collection trust account for CR17 Campaign, which was the campaign for Cyril Ramaphosa to be elected as the president of the ANC, not the president of the country.
So, they had fundraising dinners and so on, and so forth, and obviously those bank details were provided far and wide because at every fundraising dinner they would have been issued. Now, somehow, along the way Gavin Watson obviously got those bank details and then he made this payment, and he disguised it by telling Petrus Venter he’s paying it to Andile Ramaphosa. When in reality, he was paying it to the CR17 Campaign and he didn’t want the CR17 Campaign to see it was coming from him so, he laundered it through a third-party company, which happened to be in liquidation and shouldn’t have even had a bank account. That’s pretty much where it stopped but two to three-months after that payment was made, Andile Ramaphosa entered into a consulting contract with Bosasa.
So, they were already talking in October 2017 about a consulting contract and Andile was talking to a guy called, he wasn’t dealing with Gavin Watson, he was dealing with a guy called Trevor Mathenjwa. Now, Trevor Mathenjwa was the CEO of another company called Global Technology Services (Pty) Ltd., which is a wholly owned subsidiary and they have their own website and everything of Bosasa/AGO, because Bosasa changed its name. So, because of his business contacts in East Africa, he had something like 15 to 20 potential integrated security solution projects. Now, we’ve seen the evidence of all that. Obviously, there’s commercial information, which we haven’t published but we have published our report. When we look at that information it becomes crystal clear that there was a genuine business relationship and fees were being paid by AGO or its subsidiary to the company, Blue Crane Capital, a company controlled by Andile Ramaphosa.
We have satisfied ourselves. We’ve examined the documentation and we’ve satisfied ourselves that there was a genuine business relationship. There was even a spreadsheet created to list out all the different projects in the pipeline and we’ve examined the metadata on the spreadsheet and we’re satisfied that the spreadsheet wasn’t created last week. It was created in January 2018, which was a few weeks after the business arrangement was entered into between Blue Crane Capital and Bosasa, and we’re satisfied that there was a genuine business relationship. We’ve also examined the invoices and also examined the bank accounts of Blue Crane Capital. We are satisfied that no R500,000 amount was paid.
Now, we hadn’t done that when we opened the docket. All we had done was focus on the Vincent Smith allegations, so be that as it may, when we saw this in the statement of Venter, we sent a copy of the affidavit of Venter to Cyril Ramaphosa, and we said, ‘look, in this paragraph there’s allegations being made against Andile – we need to deal with it.’ Now, unfortunately after that, I was overseas, Andile was overseas, our paths couldn’t cross and then Cyril spoke to Andile about it and Andile showed his father the contract that he had. He didn’t only have a contract.
When Cyril took over as president of the country, he called all of his family members together and he told them, ‘I’m now the president of the country and not just the president of the ANC, and from this point onwards – I don’t want any accusations being made that we are lining or feathering our nests, or anything of that nature. So, whatever all your business interests are you guys have got to implement an anti-bribery and anti-corruption policy with all your business associates. Andile did that immediately and he forced Bosasa to sign an anti-bribery policy. We’ve seen that document. We have a copy of it. In fact, we’ve attached it to our other documents and given it to the DPCI – we are satisfied.
Actually, by the way, strangely enough. Although the original contract was signed by Trevor Mathenjwa, the anti-bribery anti-corruption policy document was signed by Gavin Watson, who is the subject of our criminal investigation. We were shocked that at the time he signed that document he was already engaged in other nefarious activities. So, clearly, there was never an intention on his part to comply with that document. So, we would have got around to dealing with this eventually, and I suppose in the normal course of business we would have filed a second report, like we’ve done yesterday to DPCI.
In the meantime, what happened, Parliamentary questions were asked and a document was waved around in Parliament. Cyril then obviously thought this relates to this contract with Bosasa and he didn’t understand about the R500,000 story. He just remembered having seen the contract with Bosasa that his son showed him, and the anti-corruption and bribery policy, and he immediately replied. He didn’t say, ‘let me think about it and come back to you.’ He immediately replied and said, ‘I’ve seen the contract, it’s a contract with my son and everything is above board, and if I find any wrongdoing, I’ll personally bring him to the police station.’ It was left at that.
Then about five-days later, so I was overseas when that happened, I saw this and I thought R500,000 – that does not fit with what I’ve been told so, I phoned Andile. I said, ‘what is this R500,000 story?’ He said, “No, Uncle Paul (because he calls me uncle), I don’t know anything about that. That R500,000 had nothing to do with me and I don’t have a bank account at Absa so it’s got nothing to do with me.” I then phoned Bejani Chauke, who is the special advisor to Cyril. I said, ‘Bejani, we’ve got to find out what this R500,000 is about.’ I had been busy, I hadn’t gotten around to it but we need to deal with it urgently.
As I said, I was overseas, notwithstanding the fact that I was overseas, Andile came into our offices with Bejani, and they brought all the documentation in and Sarah-Jane Trent, who is the executive director of Forensics for Justice, she sat down, she received all these documents, she interviewed Andile for about two-hours on aspects of the thing and then when she finished… I flew back from overseas, I sat with her two-days ago and went through everything. We carried out the forensic analysis of the metadata on the documents. We satisfied ourselves that we had gotten to the bottom of the matter and then I phoned Andile and asked him to come to my office.
So, he came late in the afternoon and we sat for three-hours and I went through everything, line-by-line, paragraph-by-paragraph and I am satisfied of the correctness of our report so, the bottom-line is that when Cyril answered the Parliamentary question, he answered with what he thought to be the situation. As soon as he found out that in fact, this R500,000 related to a payment that had been made to the CR17 Campaign, although he wasn’t in the country, he instructed his advisor to draft a letter, which he did, Cyril signed it and it was given to Parliament and read out there, and I think the rest is history.
People were toy-toying outside the offices of Bosasa saying that they have evidence that Cyril is corrupt. Frankly, I will deal with corruption wherever I see it, without fear or favour, but I just decided that nobody is calling Cyril corrupt, so we completed our investigation and we released it yesterday or early this morning.
Paul, are you 100% sure that if this had to land up in a court of law that Andile would be found innocent if there are allegations like this made against him?
Yes, in fact, even if it is made in a civil court where the evidential test is lower. In a civil court the test is the balance of probability. Whereas in a criminal court it’s beyond reasonable doubt. I am satisfied. First of all, no prosecutor in his right mind is going to say, ‘let’s prosecute on this.’ Nothing has been done wrong. We are satisfied and that is why we have issued our report to DPCI, and we made Andile sign a sworn affidavit. In his sworn affidavit, which is attached to our report, and he’s stated, under oath, that our report is correct. So, that is why we’ve published it because I think the country needs to know. It’s very destabilising for the economy. Having had 9-years of a corrupt president it is very destabilising for the people in the country, especially just before Christmas to have people calling the current president corrupt. We just decided that it is in the best interest of the country that the truth be out there so, we’ve put it out there.
Yes, because you usually target people who are corrupt, isn’t it, in terms of publishing results about them so, this is something quite unique for you.
This is the first time Forensics for Justice have issued a certificate of good health to anybody and hopefully, it’s the last time we have to do it but I am not going to stand by and see the first honest president in the last decade, and see his name being trashed when I know he’s not dishonest and when I know that he has… Of course, there can be all sorts of criticisms made about his political stances and so on, and so forth. I’m not going there. I’m just saying, this president is not corrupt. He is straight and I trust him and the whole country can trust him.
It still looks like Bosasa comes out badly. Do you think that government and anybody related to any government official should be advised not to deal with Bosasa because it still looks like Bosasa itself is problematic in many respects?
Somebody said to me the other day, ‘what’s going to happen to Bosasa?’ I said, ‘well, if somebody offered me shares in Bosasa, even for free, I would not accept them because the wheel will turn.’ The wheels of justice have started turning already. What you have to remember is that the last 9-years criminals, especially in the ‘tenderpreneur’ field of crime. The ‘tenderpreneurs’ in this country have been getting away with it for 9-years. The wind has changed direction. In January or February, we are going to have a new National Director of Public Prosecutions, and then we’re going to be able to dig-up all these dockets. Dockets have been opened against Bosasa, against Lucky Montana, against Dudu Myeni – there’s all these dockets that are sitting and gathering dust in the room next to Shaun Abraham’s office. When we get this new NDPP we are going to see a situation where hopefully, if we don’t see that situation then I will exercise the use of my Irish passport and vanish. But we will hopefully see a situation where these dockets will be dusted off and they’ll be cherry-picked to select and make examples of these people. Hopefully, we’re then going to see Lucky Montana, Gavin Watson, Vincent Smith and all these other people explaining their conduct in a court of law.
Bosasa (African Global Operations) claims there is no contract between the company & @CyrilRamaphosa’s son, Andile. This comes after @Our_DA leader @MmusiMaimane submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request to the company #votfmnews
— VOICE OF TEMBISA FM (@votfm_876) December 10, 2018
Just as a last question, Paul, are you positive about SA’s future in light of what you’ve just said?
You’re talking to a guy that’s suffered terribly at the hands of these corrupt cops and members of NPA. My offices have been raided multiple times. I’ve been dragged off a plane with my children, detained and tortured. My staff have been kidnapped and driven around for hours, all by police by the way. So, it’s real, old-style apartheid tactics. We’ve suffered like that for years now. The first raid of my offices took place in April 2015, and this had been going on for 3.5 years. For once, I can now see that wind has changed direction and for anybody that’s thinking of packing their bags and going, my simple word to that is, don’t because if you do, you’re going to miss the greatness that’s going to come back to SA.
Mandela’s legacy will be returned and it’s going to be people like Cyril Ramaphosa and the people that follow-on from him, whether they’re ANC or whatever they are but I don’t think we’ll ever again… You know, it’s like a pendulum swinging, so after apartheid we had good, quality leadership and then, things started sinking. We had a corrupt chief of police and then the president gets recalled and there’s a temporary president, and then we had a situation where a high court judge gives an 8-month postponement to Zuma on his corruption trial, and during that postponement the charges were withdrawn and he became president, and that changed the future of this country.
I’m pleased to say, although we’ve set the future of this country back 10 years, we are now back to the period before Zuma was appointed. All we have to do now is get the goodwill going between the races because during the last 9 years you’ve had this malicious use of the race card to over up for the looting that was going on and I’m delighted to say that this whole thing has changed direction now. I think we’re going to see a situation, not next week or the week after but certainly within the next year or two. We’re going to see a situation where the economy starts booming again.
Paul O’Sullivan, thank you so much for chatting to us again.
Thanks a lot, and have a nice weekend.
Press statement from Forensics for Justice:
The President of South Africa is Not Corrupt
As a continuation of our investigation into corruption allegedly committed by Gavin Watson and Bosasa / African Global Operations, ‘AGO’ (under the title ‘The Looting Continues’)we have recently investigated allegations that President Cyril Ramaphosa is corrupt. We have satisfied ourselves that neither Cyril Ramaphosa, nor his son, have been engaged in any unethical practices, in respect of Bosasa / AGO. The attached affidavit by Andile Ramaphosa, together with our redacted report should dispel any fears that his father (The President) is corrupt. We will now be pursuing further fraud and money laundering charges against Gavin Watson and his accomplices.