Sudanese businessman Hazim Mustafa told the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) he was driven to Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in a limousine and claimed the $580 000 in cash he gave to the President’s staff was a deposit to show he was ‘serious’ about buying 20 buffalo.

This, notes News24, emerged in a previously confidential report that details the central bank’s Financial Surveillance investigations into alleged exchange control violations linked to the Phala Phala cash – and reveals how SARB investigators cleared the President and his estate, despite noting ‘inconsistencies and non-alignment of certain of the evidence’ before them.

While the SARB noted ‘inconsistencies’ in Mustafa's evidence, it stated that ‘it would appear that there are no material inconsistencies in the President’s account of events’.

The SARB report is part of a 948-page non-confidential Rule 53 record, filed by the central bank in response to the DA’s challenge to the constitutionality and lawfulness of its finding that Ramaphosa and his Ntaba Nyoni Estate did not violate exchange controls by failing to declare $580 000 cash in alleged buffalo sales.

The central bank's investigation followed several complaints from political leaders after the implosion of the Phala Phala scandal.

And the DA filed an application filed at the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), seeking a finding that Ramaphosa and Ntaba Nyoni Estate are guilty of exchange control violations.

In the alternative, it asks that the SARB be required to make a fresh determination on the saga within a three-month period.

In response to the DA’s litigation, the SARB has chosen to release its report – and a large chunk of the evidence that it considered – as part of a non-confidential ‘Rule 53’ record of all the information it considered in reaching its disputed Phala Phala findings notes News24.

In that Financial Surveillance department report, SARB states that, based on the information gathered, the interviews conducted and the available evidence, ‘it is apparent that there are certain inconsistencies and non-alignment in the evidence’ relevant to the question it had to answer: whether a right to the foreign currency had accrued to Ntaba Nyoni Estates CC or not.

It noted that there was a clear ‘inconsistency’ between what Mustafa had told its officials and what he told the Hawks about what he and Ndlovu agreed upon in terms of the conditions of the buffalo sale.

In his first affidavit to the Hawks, Mustafa stated: ‘Mr Ndlovu and I agreed that the export permits (inclusive of vaccinations and other certificates) would be prepared and kept at Phala-Phala Game Farm until the regulatory processes were finalised.’

But, in an affidavit to SARB, he stated: ‘No arrangements were made with regard to logistics for transporting the animals as this would only have been arranged once end buyers were identified and secured. Only once I had identified end buyers, would I have been able to provide the necessary information to Phala Phala farm for it to obtain the veterinarian certificates, conclude other legal documents and finalise the transaction.’

Full News24 report