Charismatic African National Congress (ANC) veteran and businessman Mosima Gabriel “Tokyo” Sexwale was the talk of the nation over the last week after he appeared on television and claimed that he was privy to a Heritage Fund worth billions of rand that was stolen from.
Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) were aware of the fund, according to Sexwale but the government quickly rubbished the claims, saying that the businessman had fallen victim to a “scam.”
After Mboweni dismissed Sexwale’s claims, the ANC veteran was the butt of many jokes on social media, but he was not to be deterred. Sexwale announced that he would hold a press conference at 14:00 on Thursday, 22 April, after the government told him the onus to prove the existence of the fund.
Tokyo Sexwale and Godwin Webb were meant to address the media and related people as “The Joint WSB Heritage Fund” mandate holders at the Riboville Hotel in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Unfortunately, the mysterious Webb could not attend the briefing due to a medical emergency, which meant Sexwale took to the podium alone.
‘I’M GOING TO TAKE YOU ON A JOURNEY‘, SAID SEXWALE
Sexwale started the briefing with several disclaimers. He made it clear that he has no social media accounts and said when he wants to speak the public will see him in person.
He also said the rumours that he has presidential ambitions are untrue and he did not make the revelation as a means to generate attention for the ANC in the upcoming local elections.
Another important disclaimer made was that he would not be able to divulge certain bits of information because they pertained to a Hawks investigation
Sexwale said he was approached to be a joint mandate holder of the White Spiritual Boy Trust (WSB) in December 2018 and after considering the matter and doing his due diligence he accepted the offer.
“I examined the subject for a whole month and I accepted. I suffer no fools,” said the businessman.
Sexwale was appointed to the position of joint mandate holder on 7 January 2019.
He added that given his wealth of experience when it comes to handling large amounts of money, leading the WSB Trust would not be a challenge.
“Billions are not something new to me,” said Sexwale but he added that the zeroes in the fund were “a bit more” than he was used to.
MBOWENI, RAMAPHOSA AND THE RESERVE BANK WERE TOLD ABOUT THE FUND IN 2019
According to Sexwale, the WSB Trust is not funded with South African money. The fund is based in Singapore and owned by a Chinese individual named Chuck Leong.
He urged the journalists in attendance to get in contact with international police and check the validity of the fund.
On 14 February 2019, Sexwale says he wrote a letter to Mboweni to inform him about his appointment as joint mandate holder of the trust. The presidency and governor of the SARB, Lesetja Kganyago, were also allegedly copied in on the letter.
A week later, the presidency acknowledged the letter and Kganyago allegedly phoned Sexwale and warned him that the fund might be a scam.
Sexwale claims follow up letters and even direct messages to Ramaphosa, via WhatsApp, informing him that money from the WSB Trust received no response.
SEXWALE SAID THE FUND WAS MEANT TO HELP THE POOR
During a television appearance on Sunday, 18 April, Sexwale said he and an unnamed partner raised billions of rand that was sourced from an unnamed influential family.
“I am part of two people who are in charge of the Heritage Fund that belongs to a very powerful family out there in the world,” said Sexwale.
The SARB was quick to dismiss the claims because the money supposedly comes through it, according to Sexwale. He added that he is one of two mandate holders of the fund in the country.
“In the process of making sure this money is brought into the economy, we found some resistance. And when we checked the resistance, we found some of this money has been stolen,” said Sexwale.
THE ‘WHITE SPIRITUAL BOY TRUST’ DOES NOT EXIST, SAYS GOVERNMENT
On Monday, 19 April, the South African Treasury and SARB released a joint statement and said Sexwale had fallen for a “common scam” that has been around since before 2016.
“National Treasury and the SARB have previously received correspondence from Mr Sexwale and many others that alleges that billions of rands had 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,” said the statement.
The statement also said that Sexwale is not the first person to make claims about the fund and that requests and enquiries about it can be “traced to many years before 2016.”
Godwin Erin Webb, is the alleged mandated representative of the fund, which is allegedly worth trillions of dollars, in South Africa.
The SARB said its investigations found no record of the existence of the fund and concluded, based on “experience and knowledge, that the alleged fund was a scam.