National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) have dismissed claims by businessman and ANC veteran Tokyo Sexwale that “billions” of rand raised for a so-called “heritage fund” had been “stolen”.
Sexwale, who made the claim on eNCA on Sunday, said the money raised would have been used for addressing an array of social ills like the paying off of student debt and providing Covid-19 relief.
Speaking to JJ Tabane on the Power To Truth TV show, Sexwale said he was one of two people in charge of the fund, which belonged to a “very powerful family”.
He said in the process of bringing the money into the country, he had encountered unspecified “resistance”. When he looked into what was holding up the transfer, he discovered some of this “money has been stolen”.
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National Treasury and Sarb, however, hold the view that Sexwale had fallen victim to a “common scam”.
In a joint statement, the financial regulators said over the years they 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.”
They noted that Sexwale was not the only victim of this con.
“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.”
The regulators then went on to explain that those behind the scam alleged that there were trillions of dollars in the fund and that a certain Goodwin Erin Webb was its mandated representative in SA.
They said an investigation found “no record of the existence of the said fund” and they 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”.
Not the first
They added that Sexwale was “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”.
According to the notifications provided by commercial banks, which are appointed as Authorised Dealers in foreign exchange transactions, there is no evidence to support the existence of such funds.
National Treasury and the Sarb say the ball is in Sexwale’s court when it comes to proving that Webb, the transfers, and the fund exist.
“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.”