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Friday, 17 November 2023 13:56

Two Phala Phala burglary suspects granted bail.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Two of the three suspects linked to a burglary at President Cyril Ramaphosa's Phala Phala game farm have been granted bail.

Three suspects appeared in the Bela Bela District Court on Friday.

Froliana Joseph and her brother David Joseph were granted bail. Imanuwela David will remain in custody.

Magistrate Predeshni Poonan when handing down the judgment, said Froliana and David Joseph have co-operated with police, so the state was not opposed to them being released on bail.

Former cleaner at the farm Froliana Joseph was released on R5 000 bail and David Joseph on R10 000 bail.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said the accused number one, Imanuwela David, had been remanded in custody.

"His attorney Koena Matlala only appeared for him today. We are ready to proceed but he is only available on 6 December. So, the case has been postponed until then."

Malabi-Dzhangi said the trio will be back in court on 6 December.

The matter was postponed to December 6 for further investigations and for David to submit his formal bail application.

David and Froliana Joseph were arrested earlier this month while 27-year-old Ndilinasho David Joseph, the brother of Froliana, a former employee at the game farm handed himself over to police.

The trio are accused of stealing $580 000 (about R10.6 million at the time) from Ramaphosa's game farm in February 2020.

The theft came to light when former State Security Agency boss, Arthur Fraser, opened a case of kidnapping and money laundering against Ramaphosa, the head of the Presidential Protection Services Major-General Wally Rhoode and Crime Intelligence.

They face charges of theft, housebreaking with intent to steal, conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit housebreaking with intent to steal.

Meanwhile the long-awaited report by the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) into the theft of $580 000 (then worth about R8 million) from Phala Phala game farm confirms what was already in the public domain – that there was no violation of exchange control regulations over the president’s receipt of foreign exchange.

Exchange control regulations require forex to be declared within 30 days of receipt. The Financial Surveillance Department (FinSurv) of the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) conducted interviews and canvassed affidavits with scores of witnesses before coming to the conclusion that the $580 000 received from a Sudanese businessman for 20 buffalo was a downpayment and not a 'perfected transaction', which meant Ntaba Nyoni Estates CC, trading as Phala Phala Wildlife, had no legal entitlement to the foreign currency.

The Reserve Bank report focused only on the exchange control aspects of the case, and not other potential violations of the law.