SARB Governor won’t release Phala Phala investigation report, citing legal concerns

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South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Governor Lesetja Kganyago says he is not prepared to commit a criminal offence by releasing the final report into the Phala Phala investigation.

He explains to the Standing Committee on Finance that the Reserve Bank Act makes it a criminal offence to disclose the report.

Kganyago was briefing the committee on the bank’s investigation and how it arrived at its findings, which cleared President Cyril Ramaphosa of any wrongdoing.

The bank recently said it cannot conclude that there was any contravention of the Exchange Control.

Kganyago tells the committee on Wednesday that disclosure can only be done through a court of law or any other law.

“In relation to the report the South African Reserve bank is constraint by the requirements of Section 33 of the South African Reserve Bank Act which prevents disclosure of among others, any information relating to the affairs of the SARB or any information acquired by directors, officers or employees of the SARB in the course of his or her participation in the affairs of the SARB. The transgression of the restriction of Section 33 is a criminal offence. So, 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. The aforesaid restrictions only apply unless disclosure is required before a court of law or under any other law.”

More questions than answers 

According to the SARB, its Financial Surveillance Department conducted the investigation in two phases.

The process involved internal information and databases, the analysis of cross-border foreign exchange transactions over the period under investigation, documents, and interviews with various individuals.

Political analysts say the bank’s decision to clear Ramaphosa over Phala Phala raises more questions than answers.

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