By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
File:Tokyo Sexwale speaks at the launch of "The Life of a Legend" gold and silver coin series that the SA Mint has created to honour Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton Johannesburg; 4 March 2014. Picture Neil McCartney.
The National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) have dismissed claims by ANC veteran Tokyo Sexwale that he was instrumental in depositing billions of rand at the central bank to help poor university students.
Sexwale has ruffled feathers over allegations that some of the billions of rand he raised to fight Covid-19 and to assist poor students, had been stolen, and police were on a mission to recover the funds.
Sexwale made the claims during an eNCA talk show Truth to Power in which he said that he raised billions of rands and that the funds in question were channelled to the central bank in 2016.
In the interview, Sexwale said he and this person, whose name he did not disclose, sourced billions from a single donor who is now asking questions about the whereabouts of the funds.
He said he made the discovery when he wanted to access the money and channel it to its targets, such as the fight against Covid-19 and to clear the rising debt of university students.
"The process was aimed at bringing the funds into our hands. In fact, we wanted to bring it to the economy of the country. We found some resistance. When we checked the resistance, we realised that part of the money has been stolen," Sexwale said.
He said police were investigating.
Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has labelled as "untrue" and "sad" allegations made by Sexwale that money from a fund meant for the poor was stolen .
Mr Tokyo Sexwale’s statement about stolen money is untrue, sad and seems that he was a victim of the many scams abound. You cannot steal transmitted money from the central bank. How? His statement on television was unfortunate. Will reach out to him.— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) April 19, 2021
According to Sexwale, former president Jacob Zuma and incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa were aware of the funds which he said were meant for free education of poor students.
But Treasury and the central bank have dismissed the claims.
During his interview on the news channel, Sexwale said two weeks ago they reported a case of theft to the police after funds, while under the care of the central bank, allegedly went missing.
But in a joint statement, both Treasury and the SARB said: "Allegations made by Mr Tokyo Sexwale on alleged billions that have been deposited at the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) points to a common scam. Over the years, National Treasury and the SARB have received many such requests for, or promises, of billions (and now trillions) of rands or dollars, and from experience regarding these as simply scams."
They added: "Any claim that such funds are meant for deserving causes such as Covid-19 relief, social grants or grants for free education are simply empty promises, to secure the interest of the potential victim."
They also indicated that they had previously received correspondence from Sexwale and many others that alleged that billions of rands have been stolen from a fund that had been referred to as the 'White Spiritual Boy Trust' and which was set up by a foreign donor.
"It is further alleged that there are trillions of dollars in the said fund and that, inter alia, a certain Mr Goodwin Erin Webb was its mandated representative in South Africa. On investigation, the SARB can confirm that it had no record of the existence of the said fund and it had advised Mr Sexwale in writing that, given the SARB’s experience and knowledge of this and other similar matters, it could only conclude that the alleged fund was a scam," the statement read.
The entities said it should be noted that Sexwale was not the first prominent person acting on behalf of Mr Webb or an unknown donor, for such funds, and such requests could be traced to many years before 2016.
"The SARB can confirm that all cross-border transactions are reported to the SARB by commercial banks who are appointed as authorised dealers in foreign exchange transactions. The SARB has concluded that there is no evidence to support the existence of such funds. If Mr Sexwale believes otherwise, the onus is on him and his unknown sponsor to provide independently written proof of the existence and/or transfer of such funds, as well as certified copies of actual identification and citizenship of such 'donors' in line with the normal FICA- type anti-money laundering requirements," the statement said.
The central bank is adamant that the allegations of theft of non-existent funds have no validity.
Read the Full Statement Here:Treasury & SARB Joint Statement.