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.
ANC veteran and businessman Tokyo Sexwale is adamant that billions of donor funds were stolen from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and channelled to 18 local commercial banks including various prominent business people in the country.
Sexwale on Thursday reacted to the National Treasury and SARB statement which indicated there was no such cash under the care of the reserve bank and that he had been scammed.
He reiterated comments made during an interview on eNCA’s Truth to Power talk show that an undisclosed owner of the money, deposited cash into the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland, with the view of assisting with philanthropic and humanitarian needs of all governments in Africa and Indian ocean Island States.
He said the money was donated by a "very powerful family" and was supposedly meant to fund free education, purchase bullet trains, finance infrastructure developments, and help fund the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Sexwale he was managing the fund along with a partner, and the money came into the country via the Reserve Bank
Sexwale said that the funds he was referring to did not belong to South Africa but rather a Chinese businessman Chuck Leong, who was based in Singapore.
The Reserve Bank and finance minister Tito Mboweni, however, have described Sexwale’s allegations as unfounded and say he might have fallen for an online scam. Mboweni labelled Sexwale’s claims as "Untrue and Sad" on Twitter.
However Sexwale remained adamant on Thursday that he wasn’t scammed, but rather certain people were using the media to cover up the existence of the Heritage Fund Trust.
He insisted that he had shown certain documents to Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago, proving that money went missing.
"Documents that pointed out to malfeasance and criminality that was happening inside the bank. Malfeasance, criminality and shenanigans were happening inside the bank, that’s what the documents are saying; they had names of individuals, how money has been moved from this account and where it went into the commercial banks," said Sexwale.
Sexwale said that he has since opened a charge with the Hawks serious crimes division and that there are ongoing investigations that will see many government officials being implicated.
He said that the money was transferred to 18 different banks in the country and that as time goes on the names of the people who sought to benefit from these illegal transactions would be revealed in due cause.
On Thursday, the head of the Hawks Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebea confirmed that Sexwale registered a complaint with his office and he referred him to his Serious Economic offence Unit.
"Mr Sexwale has indeed registered a complaint with my office. I then referred him to our Serious Economic Offences Unit. They are conducting an investigation on the matter," Lebea said.
The National Treasury and the Reserve Bank said they did not want to comment on the latest allegations by Sexwale but maintained that they stood by their statement denying the existence of such funds.
Sexwale also lamented that the African National Congress has since turned a blind eye on corruption and against him when he needed them the most.