According to a report, a Dubai businessman who reportedly purchased 20 buffaloes from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm claims he had no idea the deal was with the president.

According to Sky News, Hazim Mustafa, who reportedly paid $580 000 (R10 million) in cash for Ramaphosa’s farm’s 20 buffaloes in December 2019, said he didn’t know who the animals belonged to at first.

After conducting an investigation into allegations of a cover-up of a theft at the farm in February 2020, a panel led by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo issued a report last week.

The panel determined that Ramaphosa had a case to answer and that he may have broken the law by interfering with his official duties and his private business.

Mustafa was identified as the source of the more than $500 000 (R9 million) stolen from the farm in a statement to the panel. Among the evidence was a $580 000 receipt written by a Phala Phala employee to “Mr Hazim.”

According to Sky News, Mustafa stated that he celebrated Christmas and his wife’s birthday in Limpopo in 2019, and that he purchased the animals through a broker.

He allegedly stated that the animals were to be prepared for export, but due to the Covid-19 lockdown, they were never delivered. He was aware that he would be reimbursed following the delays.

He also allegedly brought the money into the country via OR Tambo International Airport and claimed to have declared it. Mustafa added that the sum was “nothing for a businessman like [him].”

Sudanese football club Al Merrikh SC is owned by the businessman. He is married to Bianca O’Donoghue, a KwaZulu-Natal native.

O’Donoghue frequently posts photos on social media of himself wearing designer labels and standing next to a purple Rolls Royce Cullinan, a luxury SUV worth approximately R5.5 million.

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