FIC insists it acted lawfully by giving CR17 information to Mkhwebane

Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Image credit: Twitter/Public Protector SA

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) has denied suggestions that it acted unlawfully by giving CR17 campaign information to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, FIC said section 40 of the FIC Act obligates it to disseminate information to certain authorities upon request.

These authorities include the National Prosecuting Authority, State Security Agency, Public Protector, and South African Revenue Service, among others.

The FIC wishes to state emphatically that the information provided to the Office of the Public Protector was both obtained and disseminated lawfully in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act

FIC

Questions from Ramaphosa’s lawyers

FIC’s statement follows a letter sent to it by Peter Harris, who is part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s legal team on the CR17 matter, in August.

Harris asked FIC to explain the legal basis it used to share CR17 campaign bank statements with Mkhwebane.

He also asked why Mkhwebane received two-year-long statements when she had allegedly only asked for statements relating to a R500,000 campaign donation by the late Gavin Watson, Bosasa’s ex-CEO.

Mkhwebane relied on the bank statements to find that Ramaphosa had misled Parliament regarding the Watson donation.

She also found suspicion of money laundering in the way CR17 campaign funds were managed.

Mkhwebane further said the president should have declared all CR17 donations to Parliament and that he exposed himself to a risk of conflict of interest.

However, Ramaphosa has taken Mkhwebane’s report, which she released in July, on judicial review.

FIC may intervene in review

In its statement, FIC said it is monitoring the legal battle between Ramaphosa and Mkwebane on the CR17 report.

Should there be a need, it shall seek permission to intervene solely for the purposes of clarifying its mandate and to assist the Court to ensure that there is no misleading of the Court.

FIC

It added that while it “follows the money” and compiles intelligence reports, it does not have the mandate to investigate or prosecute.

FIC also does not control how authorities handle information provided to them, the statement said.

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