25 June 2019

South Africa: Money Laundering Is a Serious Crime, but It Does Not Fall Within the Ambit of the Public Protector

Photo: allafrica.com
President Cyril Ramaphosa, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane
analysis

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has confirmed she is investigating allegations of money laundering in relation to a donation made by Bosasa to Cyril Ramaphosa's campaign for the ANC presidency. Money laundering is an extremely serious matter, and anyone convicted of it faces a fine of up to R100m or up to 30 years in jail. It is therefore important that such claims be investigated properly. However, the Public Protector is not the person to do so, as she doesn't have the legal authority to investigate money laundering exclusively involving two private entities.

If you steal millions or even billions of rand (or illegally obtain millions or billions of rand from a criminal enterprise), one of the biggest problems you are going to face is how to disguise the criminal taint attached to the funds.

If you deposit the money (or have it deposited) directly into your bank account, even the toothless Hawks might notice and begin to investigate. To avoid the danger of detection, you might try to launder the money by cycling it through various bank accounts, "family trusts", or business entities, transferring it from one to the other until the money has been "cleansed".

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