The former auditor of Bosasa, Peet Venter, told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Tuesday that he found the payment the company made to the foundation of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s son, Andile, “strange”.
Venter told the commission that Bosasa’s CEO, Gavin Watson, instructed him to make a payment of R500,000 to the foundation of Andile Ramaphosa and that the payment was made on October 19, 2017.
Last year, DA leader Mmusi Maimane asked Ramaphosa a question in the National Assembly relating to a Bosasa payment of R500,000 to Andile, claiming he had evidence.
The president said he was aware of the business relationship Maimane was talking about but said it was legally instituted through a company Andile did business with.
The president said at the time that if it turned out his son had lied about the payments being illegal, he would hold him personally accountable.
Ramaphosa explained in his response to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane that it was after the parliamentary Q&A session had ended that his adviser informed him that the account Maimane was referring to was not Andile’s but an attorney’s account used by the CR17 campaign to raise funds for his party election campaign. Ramaphosa claimed he and his campaign managers had made a “deliberate” decision not to be involved in fundraising activities, but to only address meetings and dinners with potential funders.
Bosasa has since tried to distance itself from the donation, claiming it was a personal one from Watson.
Venter told the commission on Tuesday that Watson had instructed him to make several payments from Miotto Trading and Advisory, a dormant company owned by Venter’s relative which the former auditor used.
However, Venter said he could not question Watson on these payments as he would get upset, so he carried out the instructions even though he knew this was wrong.
Venter said he effected to R500,000 payment to “efg2” into an ABSA bank account and that he was “merely told it was for a foundation/trust of Andile Ramaphosa”. Ramaphosa was deputy to former president Jacob Zuma at the time.
“I found this strange but wouldn’t dare question Mr Watson,” Venter told the commission.
Venter said he did not know what the R500,000 payment was for and that he had been surprised when Andile Ramaphosa’s name was mentioned “because I wasn’t aware of what the relationship was; why would Mr Watson make a payment to” Ramaphosa’s son.
Venter told the commission that the R500,000 came from Watson’s personal account into Miotto and then transferred to beneficiary “efg2”.
Venter said Watson had told him that the payment was for Andile Ramaphosa and had no other information.
In Miotto’s books, the payment to young Ramaphosa was referenced as “payment coming in, payment going out because there was no real purpose for that payment, no services were rendered” for it, Venter said.
No further payments were made either from Miotto or by Venter to the beneficiary “efg2”, he told the commission.