Reserve Bank: Tokyo Sexwale's claims of donor fund theft point to a common scam

Businessperson and former Gauteng Premier Tokyo Sexwale alleged that a portion of the monies within the Heritage Fund, of whom he is one of two mandate holders, had been 'pilfered'.

FILE: Tokyo Sexwale. Picture: Reinart Toerien/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Reserve Bank and National Treasury have on Monday responded to claims by businessperson and former Gauteng Premier Tokyo Sexwale that billions of rands destined for the so-called Heritage Fund had been 'pilfered'.

During an interview on eNCA, Sexwale confirmed the existence of the Heritage Fund, saying, "Yes, I am part of two people who are in charge of the Heritage Fund that belongs to a very powerful family out there in the world. This fund is here in South Africa already. It comes through the South African Reserve Bank. I am part of two people that are mandate holders for that fund. The fund is able to help the students with free education in this country. [Jacob] Zuma knew about the fund in 2016. Cyril [Ramaphosa] knew about the fund at that time."

Sexwale said the fund had offered billions of rands to assist with efforts to fight the impact of COVID as well as the debt of university students.

"This fund is there, but in the process of making sure it's brought into the economy, we have found some resistance, and when we checked the resistance, we found that part of this money has been stolen."

Sexwale added that the matter had been urgently raised with Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni and his predecessor, as well as the ANC top six and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

'RATS' HAVE LIED TO THE NATION

"All I'm saying is that somewhere along the way we discovered that this donor fund has been pilfered. So it's like storage of bread, we are in charge of that. We are supposed to get the key. If we open we will discover that a lot of this bread has been eaten by rats. Rats which I have crossed inside this office, people who are malfeasant, big names, big people, who have lied to this nation.

"It's a police matter right now because something has happened inside there."

However, a joint statement by the Reserve Bank and National Treasury on Monday said that Sexwale's claims of alleged billions that had been deposited at the bank pointed to a common scam.

"Over the years, National Treasury and the SARB have received many such requests for, or promises, of billions (and now trillions) of rands or dollars, and from experience regard these as simply scams. Any claim that such funds are meant for deserving causes such as COVID-19 relief, social grants or grants for free education are simply empty promises, to secure the interest of the potential victim.

"National Treasury and the SARB have previously received correspondence from Mr Sexwale and many others that alleges that billions of rands have been stolen from a fund that has been referred to as the ‘White Spiritual Boy Trust’ and which was set up by a foreign donor.

'NO RECORD OF THE FUND'

"It is further alleged that there are trillions of dollars in the said fund and that, inter alia, a certain Mr Goodwin Erin Webb was its mandated representative in South Africa. On investigation, the SARB can confirm that it had no record of the existence of the said fund and it had advised Mr Sexwale in writing that, given the SARB’s experience and knowledge of this and other similar matters, it could only conclude that the alleged fund was a scam. It should be noted that Mr Sexwale is not the first prominent person acting on behalf of a Mr Webb or an unknown donor, for such funds, and such requests can be traced to many years before 2016.

"The SARB can confirm that all cross-border transactions are reported to the SARB by commercial banks who are appointed as Authorised Dealers in foreign exchange transactions. The SARB has concluded that there is no evidence to support the existence of such funds.

"If Mr Sexwale believes otherwise, the onus is on him and his unknown sponsor to provide independent written proof of the existence and/or transfer of such funds, as well as certified copies of actual identification and citizenship of such ‘donors’, in line with the normal FICA-type anti-money laundering requirements. Allegations of theft of non-existent funds have no validity."

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni earlier tweeted that Sexwale's claims were "sad" and "untrue".

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.