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PP's findings on Ramaphosa "irrational and reckless"


The North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday in scathing terms set aside all findings made by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane against President Cyril Ramaphosa relating to donations to his campaign for the leadership of the African National Congress in 2017.

A full bench of the court held that Mkhwebane had erred in law and exceeded the bounds of her mandate in an investigation that found Ramaphosa had misled Parliament about a donation of half a million and that there were prima facie indications of money-laundering and state capture in inflows to the campaign's coffers.

The court said there was no indication that public money was involved in the matter and therefore it fell outside her mandate. It added that her confusion on points of law such as this permeated her entire report against the president.

On money-laundering, it said the allegations underpinning her findings appeared to be that Ramaphosa set up his campaign account with the aim of laundering bribes received from donors in return for political favours.

Mkhwebane found that there was prima facie suspicion of money-laundering concerning a R500,000 donation from African Global Operations, linked to its now late chief executive Gavin Watson, but the court found that there was no evidence to support her findings or her pursuit of this line of inquiry.

"The Public Protector displayed anything but an open mind when she made serious findings on unfounded assumptions.

Her findings were not only irrational but reckless," it said.

It was equally scathing about her conclusion that the company's donation, as well as others, created a legitimate concern of state capture.

After dismissing her findings, the court set aside the remedial action Mkhwebane prescribed.

Her instructions to both the Speaker of Parliament and the national director of public prosecutions strayed beyond the powers of her office, the bench said.

She sought to circumvent the discretionary powers of the speaker and to undermine the independence of the prosecutions head, it added.

- African News Agency (ANA)

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