The anti-corruption agency in South Africa has said that it will use subpoena power to compel President Cyril Ramaphosa to provide information regarding the suspected cover-up of a theft at his opulent farmhouse.
After turning down a request for an extension, the Public Protector’s Office stated on Tuesday that Ramaphosa’s deadline to respond to inquiries about the break-in had passed on Monday.
“We intend to subpoena the information we require from the president,” watchdog spokesman Oupa Segalwe told AFP via text message.
The watchdog launched an investigation into possible violations of the executive ethics code in June after Ramaphosa was charged with paying robbers to remain silent about a robbery that allegedly occurred at his game property in February 2020 and resulted in the theft of $4 million in cash.
The issue began with a police report submitted by former national spy chief Arthur Fraser last month. It has put pressure on the president amid rising resentment within the governing African National Congress (ANC) party. Opposition lawmakers heckled him in parliament in June.
According to Fraser, burglars entered Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in the northeast of the nation and discovered cash concealed in furniture there.
Fraser claimed that Ramaphosa concealed the theft from the police and the tax authorities by orchestrating the robbers’ detention, interrogation, and subsequent payment of ransoms.
Despite admitting the burglary, Ramaphosa has refuted the allegations of kidnapping and bribery, claiming that he reported the burglary to the police.
In addition, he has contested the amount of money involved, claiming that the funds came from lawful game sales on his farm.
According to Ramaphosa’s spokesman Vincent Magwenya, the president’s attorneys are in contact with the public protector’s office.