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He's got his ticket to ride: Tokyo Sexwale was fooled b...

Business Maverick


He’s got his ticket to ride: Tokyo Sexwale was fooled by a common internet scam

Businessman and former politician Tokyo Sexwale on June 29, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Alaister Russell)

Once known as ‘Mr-Deal-A-Minute’, billionaire oligarch Tokyo Sexwale appears to have been duped by a ‘common scam’ and was acting at the behest of a mysterious foreign donor of the ‘White Spiritual Boy Trust’, said the National Treasury and the SA Reserve Bank.

White Spiritual Boy (WSB), which claims to be based in Singapore, via a Mr Clark Leong Boey, “signatory and worldwide proxy of White Spiritual Boy Trust”, wrote in 2018 to President Cyril Ramaphosa about the fund’s “strategic intent to Capitalize a Multi-Billion United States Dollars Investment Fund”.

It is this fund, said the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb), that tycoon Tokyo Sexwale was referring to (although he did not name it) during a television interview with host JJ Tabane in which the politician/businessman claimed that billions from a  “heritage trust” aimed at benefiting the poor of South Africa had been stolen either en route to or from Sarb.

The Treasury and Sarb responded jointly to questions from Daily Maverick after an angry Sexwale claimed on air that all SA’s former finance ministers as well as presidents had been aware of the miraculous “trust” but had done nothing to unlock its potential.

Daily Maverick has obtained documents in which “worldwide proxy” Boey set out that in 2016 “we made a formal approach to Sarb using our mandate holder [a Mr Goodwin Webb] but he was rebuffed”.

The WSB trust, Boey reminded Ramaphosa, had a Master Account in US dollars with sub-accounts in South Africa with Absa, FNB, Investec, Nedbank, Standard Bank, Teba Bank and Wesbank.

WSB had submitted a full plan to then-president Jacob Zuma “after following the political landscape in South Africa with interest and discussing various scenarios with our mandate holder who resides in South Africa”.

But alas, lamented WSB,  “we did not receive any fruitful ending”.

The mysterious donors and proxies had instead waited for “new ANC leadership to be elected before we approached the Reserve Bank again, due to two factions in the ruling party.

“With reference to the numerous challenges facing the Republic of South Africa and the change of president of the ruling party and the Government, we as White Spiritual Boy Fund hereby offer our assistance in financing various Government [sic] in basically all spheres of government.”

Should South Africa not take up the offer and act “NOW decisively”, South Africa would be faced with “a difficult situation over the next 12 months until the next election”.

Enter Tokyo Sexwale.

Sexwale claimed that money meant for the poor and for free education had been stolen from this “heritage fund” and that this had been reported to the SA Police Service (SAPS).

Daily Maverick has asked the SAPS if a case number has been registered and will print their reply when it is forthcoming.

Schooling the successful businessman who has rubbed shoulders and done deals with some of the world’s and South Africa’s wealthiest tycoons and families, Sarb spokesperson Ziyanda Mtshali said the ANC veteran had fallen for a “common scam”.

“Over the years, National Treasury and Sarb have received many such requests for, or promises, of billions (and now trillions) of Rands or Dollars, and from experience regard these as simply scams,” read the statement.

Sexwale, it was revealed, had previously written to the National Treasury and Sarb and was not the first “prominent person” to allege that billions of rands had been stolen from a fund the “White Spiritual Boy Trust” had set up.

“It is further alleged that there are trillions of dollars in the said fund and that, inter alia, a certain Mr Goodwin Erin Webb was its mandated representative in South Africa.”

However, on investigation, “Sarb can confirm that it had no record of the existence of the said fund and it had advised Mr Sexwale in writing that, given Sarb’s experience and knowledge of this and other similar matters, it could only conclude that the alleged fund was a scam.”

“It should be noted,” added Sarb, that Sexwale was not the first prominent person acting on behalf of “a Mr Webb or an unknown donor, for such funds, and such requests can be traced to many years before 2016”.

Sarb confirmed that “all cross-border transactions are reported to Sarb by commercial banks who are appointed as Authorised Dealers in foreign exchange transactions. Sarb has concluded that there is no evidence to support the existence of such funds.”

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni tweeted that Sexwale’s statement was “untrue, sad and seems that he was a victim of the many scams abound. You cannot steal transmitted money from the central bank. How? His statement on television was unfortunate. Will reach out to him.”

Writing to the president, Boey said that “after successful negotiations with your Mr Obakeng Senokwane and the mandate holder, the WSB Fund will immediately invest $150-billion [USD] and a further 42.85 % of available funds over the next 40 years into the South African economy”.

“Please respond to this request within 7 days so we can implement a release schedule,” Boey signed off.

Sarb said that the onus was on Sexwale “and his unknown sponsor” to provide “independent written proof of the existence and/or transfer of such funds, as well as certified copies of actual identification and citizenship of such ‘donors’, in line with the normal Fica-type anti-money laundering requirements. Allegations of theft of non-existent funds have no validity.”

In 2005 Sexwale played the “executive chairman” in the South African version of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice and said that he hoped the reality show would help to “sharpen our business skills”. We trust that this did not extend to common internet scams by dodgy-sounding trust funds. DM

(Full disclosure: Tokyo Sexwale was, through Mvelaphanda, a shareholder in Maverick and Empire magazines from 2006 until their closure in 2008.)


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All Comments 16

  • Shew, that’s a relief. Comic relief. I wonder if any money was paid over to WSB by Mr Sexwale, as he seems to have bought the story hook, line and sinker. These 419 scams are mostly aimed at extracting money from people.

  • Hectic , illusions of grandeur .
    Actually glad he got scammed ! Serves him right , greedy .
    WSB does not ring with BLM .
    No declared funds via SARS . Bit coin ?

  • I am surprised by the overwhelming negative commentry against Mr Sexwale for taking a good initiative to stand up against what appears to be a handiwork of corrupt elements. Scam is not always apparent, if this is a scam. Are we concerned about corruption or about elements associated with it?

    • I think he took a stand against the imagined theft of the money that did not actually exist because he believed the very dubious looking documentation sent to him by the fraudsters. He should simply have binned them and not publicly slammed the government or reserve bank for no reason.

  • What a laugh and he was supposedly one of the more intelligent ANC guys. Those Nigerians are getting cleverer, surprised it didn’t say Prince or King something has locked up funds ….. please send admin cheque to receive.

  • So SARS can track your money and income no matter where you are in the world, but noone can track where these funds were transferred to and who opened the accounts?

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