South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the government has launched a criminal probe into a documentary into massive financial impropriety using the country’s banking system.
The four-part documentary titled ‘Gold Mafia’ entailed a number of rogue businessmen who spoke about an extensive money laundering and gold racketeering business across a number of African countries.
Ramaphosa, responding to a question in Parliament said, the government took the allegations very seriously and that even though no arrests have been made, a formal probe had commenced.
“The government takes the allegations made in the Al Jazeera documentary titled Gold Mafia very seriously. We are committed to preserving the integrity of our financial system in the interest of the broader economy and ordinary citizens.
“With respect to actions currently being taken to investigate individuals who are alleged in the documentary to be criminally implicated an inquiry has been registered to investigate these syndicate and individuals,” he stated.
He said no arrests had been made at the time he was speaking but that, “details of steps cannot be divulged,” as the financial action taskforce investigates with the view to prosecute and prevent financial activities as were captured in the film.
Ghana was also mentioned in one sequel of the film, with Alistair Mathias a self-confessed money launderer stating among others that he was friends with president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who was a lawyer of his at a point.
The president told Al Jazeera that he had no recollection of dealing with Mathias before his lawyer also denied that he acted at a point for Mathias or his company. Alistair himself denied knowing Akufo-Addo.
After the documentary was aired, government wrote to Al Jazeera demanding a retraction and apology for some parts of their reportage but the Doha-based channel said it owed the president no apology because it had done due diligence in telling both sides of the story.
Watch President Ramaphosa’s response in Parliament: