Reserve Bank under fire for not making Phala Phala investigation findings public

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Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago has defended the bank’s decision not to release to the public its investigation findings into the Phala Phala farm saga.

Kganyago was briefing Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance on their investigation of a possible violation of Exchange Controls Regulations, following theft of foreign currency at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s game farm. Meanwhile some of the opposition accused the bank of abdicating its responsibilities while investigating this matter, so that it can clear President Ramaphosa.

Kganyago was grilled by MPs about the Reserve Bank’s investigation into the Phala Phala farm theft saga. He says in the past decade the Reserve Bank investigated over 6 000 cases related to transgression of Exchange Control Regulations. And none of those investigations were released to the public.

“If you are asking me to avail the report you are asking me to commit a criminal offence which I am not prepared to do unless disclosure is required before a court of law or any other law,” says Kganyago.

Some MPs expressed concern about the possible impact of this matter on South Africa’s greylisting.

“Did SARB consider the impact its reasons could have on money laundering and can a person avoid declaring foreign currency by simply stipulating conditions in a contract?” says DA MP Dr Dion George.

Others did not mince their words in rejecting the investigation labelling it a cover-up, arguing that it was narrow and did not investigate how the money entered the country and if it was proceeds of a crime.

“This is absolute nonsense; it undermines not only the integrity of the SA Reserve Bank but also of the individuals that are leading SARB. I would think that as part of what we should look into is what are the mechanisms of removing a sitting governor of the reserve bank from office,” says EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu.

“It’s a clap crap, we are being made stupid and I hate it when people appear before parliament and they pretend as if we don’t have grey matter in our heads, actually we know what we are talking about,” says UDM Chief Whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa.

There were also those who sought clarity on the exchange of money that was stolen.

“Would it not be reasonable to conclude that, that exchange should not have taken place for it carried with it some implications because foreign currency then exchange hands and it was kept and there is an obligation that ensues pursuant to acquiring foreign currency,” says ANC MP Phumulo Masualle.

While the committee says the Reserve Bank has done what it was tasked to do, it says those who are unhappy with certain issues contained in the report can make use of other organs of state which are responsible for certain tasks.

 Reserve Bank Governor faces hard questions in Parliament about Phala Phala farm theft probe: