President Cyril Ramaphosa’s lawyers have taken the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to task over the CR17 bank account statements.
Business Day reports that Ramaphosa’s legal team has asked FIC to explain the legal basis it used to share the statements with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Ramaphosa’s lawyer Peter Harris also asked why FIC provided Mkhwebane with two-year-long bank statements.
Harris claimed that Mkhwebane only asked for transactions related to the R500,000 donation by the late Gavin Watson, Bosasa’s ex-CEO.
In a letter to FIC’s director Xolisile Khanyile last week, Harris suggested that FIC may have shared the information with Mkhwebane “unlawfully.”
The Public Protector’s office has previously stated that it obtained the information under a “memorandum of understanding” with FIC.
If Ramaphosa’s lawyers can prove that Mkhwebane obtained evidence illegally, they have stronger grounds for setting aside her report.
Mkhwebane’s CR17 report
Mkhwebane issued her report into Watson’s donation in July. She found that Ramaphosa had “deliberately” misled Parliament about it.
She further found that Ramaphosa had exposed himself to a risk of conflict of interest by accepting donations to his CR17 campaign.
The Public Protector also argued that Ramaphosa should have declared the donations to Parliament.
CR17 was the slogan Ramaphosa’s campaign used for his bid to become President of the African National Congress (ANC) in 2017.
Mkhwebane widened the scope of her investigation from the Watson donation to include all campaign donations.
Some of the evidence she used, including bank statements and emails, have since been leaked to the media and social media.
Ramaphosa has taken her report on review, contending that it’s “legally and factually flawed.”