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Ramaphosa Reportedly Robbed - Denies Revenge

FILE: South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, photographed during joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Pretoria, May 24, 2022

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Thursday confirmed a robbery at one of his properties, but denied claims levelled by a former spy chief that he had kidnapped and bribed the thieves.

South Africa's presidential office confirmed that a robbery took place around February 9, 2020, in which money from a wildlife sale was stolen. At the time, Ramaphosa was attending an African Union summit in Ethiopia.

"On being advised of the robbery, President Ramaphosa reported the incident to the head of the Presidential Protection Unit of the South African Police Service for investigation," the statement said.

Former South Africa intelligence boss Arthur Fraser late Wednesday accused the president of organizing the kidnapping, questioning and bribery of the thieves who allegedly stole $4 million from his farm north of Johannesburg.

In response, the president's office issued a statement saying "President Ramaphosa is clear that there is no basis for the claims of criminal conduct that have been made against him."

Fraser, now chief of the country's prisons, in September ordered the release on medical parole of former head of state Jacob Zuma, just two months into a 15-month jail sentence for contempt following his refusal to testify in a probe into corruption under his presidency.

Zuma was forced to resign in 2018 after a series of corruption scandals.

Ramaphosa, who came into office pledging to fight graft, has been called in for questioning in the investigation into alleged looting from state coffers during the Zuma era.