South Africa prez to repay 'shady' campaign funds, opposition wants probe

16 hours 5 minutes ago

South Africa’s main opposition party has called for an independent inquiry into a $36,000 payment made to a fund that financed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s successful campaign for leader of the African National Congress last year.

Ramaphosa, who has staked his reputation on rooting out corruption, told lawmakers this month that the 500,000 rand payment by facilities management firm African Global Operations was for consulting work done by his son.

On Friday, Ramaphosa said he had inadvertently misled parliament and that the money was used to support his candidacy in the ANC leadership race which he narrowly won last December.

The disclosure is uncomfortable for Ramaphosa as he is trying to restore public confidence in the ANC ahead of a national election next year.

Ramaphosa’s close ally, Nhlanhla Nene, resigned as finance minister in October after admitting to lying over the number of times he had met the Gupta family, friends of former president Jacob Zuma who have been implicated in a far-reaching influence-peddling scandal but who deny wrongdoing.

Democratic Alliance party leader Mmusi Maimane said there should not be “double standards” over the payment to Ramaphosa’s campaign fund. He wants Ramaphosa to appoint an inquiry headed by a retired judge selected by the country’s chief justice.

“Ramaphosa has appointed independent inquiries to investigate corruption elsewhere. Now the same standard must apply to him and his family,” Maimane said in a statement.

Seeking to defuse the controversy surrounding the donation, Ramaphosa’s campaign team said over the weekend that it would return the money and that it would audit other donations to ensure that they were “above board”.

Ramaphosa’s spokeswoman Khusela Diko was not available to comment on whether the president would appoint the inquiry called for by Maimane.

Spokesmen for African Global Operations and the ANC did not answer their phones.



Theresa May govt to ‘engineer financial crash’ to frighten MPs into voting for Brexit deal – report

17 hours 16 minutes ago

Preview Theresa May’s government are planning to “engineer a financial crash” if parliament fails to back their Brexit deal – in an attempt to frighten MPs into voting it through at a second vote, claims a source close to the PM’s aides.
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Man impersonates Nigeria 'First Lady' in foiled $20m email scam

17 hours 31 minutes ago

A 48-year-old man appeared in court on Monday accused of attempting to defraud people around the world of $20.5 million by pretending to be Nigeria’s First Lady.

Julius Anyawu Uche was charged with 10 offences under cybercrimes legislation after scam emails were sent in the name of President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aisha.

The defendant pleaded not guilty before a judge sitting at the Federal High Court in Lagos. Uche was remanded in custody until a further hearing at the same court on January 18.

Two other men were also remanded in custody until the same date on similar offences.

One of them, Agu Ifeanyi George, 48, allegedly pretended to be a medical doctor seeking funds to relocate from war-torn Syria with her family.

Uche, who according to police is also known as “Musa Mohammed”, is said to have conspired with “others at large”.

Nigeria has a big reputation for online fraud, with scammers often using topical subjects and personalities to hoodwink unsuspecting victims into parting with bank details or cash.


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