(Bloomberg) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa asked the Constitutional Court to review and set aside a report by an advisory panel that found he may have a case of impeachment to answer over his handling of the theft of at least $580,000 from his game farm.
Ramaphosa said the panel exceeded its powers and mandate, and misjudged the information it was given, according to a review application emailed by the presidency on Monday. The application was filed a day before parliament was scheduled to debate the panel’s report and decide whether to institute impeachment proceedings against the president. It wasn’t immediately clear if that sitting will still go ahead.
“The court has allocated a case number and we are awaiting a directive from the court about a date for a hearing,” Peter Harris, a partner at law firm Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys, which is acting for Ramaphosa, said by phone.
Ramaphosa considered quitting last week after the panel released its damning findings. That option was scrapped at the weekend when his spokesman Vincent Magwenya said Ramaphosa will file a lawsuit to contest the “clearly flawed” findings and that he will seek a second term as leader of the governing African National Congress at its five-yearly elective conference next week.
The president has said the cash at his farm came from the sale of 20 buffalo to a Sudanese businessman, and his farm manager stored it in a couch in a spare bedroom at his private residence because he thought that would be the safest place to keep it. Ramaphosa denied doing anything wrong or interfering in the investigations -- assertions that were rejected by the panel headed by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.
Ramaphosa, 70, a lawyer, former union leader and one of the richest black South Africans, took office in 2018 and was the clear frontrunner to win a second term as ANC leader and president before the panel released its explosive findings.
(Updates with lawyer’s comment in fourth paragraph)
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