South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday police should be allowed to investigate him after a former intelligence official accused him of money laundering over millions of dollars allegedly stolen from the president's farm.
Ramaphosa has not been formally charged with any crime, but a police spokesperson confirmed that authorities had started investigating the allegations made against the president.
Arthur Fraser, a former director-general of the State Security Agency under Ramaphosa's predecessor Jacob Zuma, last week asked police to investigate Ramaphosa's conduct for alleged money laundering and corruption.
Fraser, who was the national commissioner for the department of correctional services until last year, said in his complaint to the police that "the quantum was speculated to be in the region of approximately US$4 million to US$ 8 million". He was referring to the amount of money he said had been stolen from Ramaphosa's farm.
While Ramaphosa has confirmed that a robbery occurred at his farm in 2020 in which he said proceeds from the sale of game were stolen, he denied claims of criminal conduct.
"The robbery that took place on my farm Phala Phala in 2020 is the subject of a criminal complaint, and the law must take its course. In other words, due process must be followed," Ramaphosa told lawmakers in parliament.
"We want the police to investigate whatever crime, whoever it is against, without any fear, without any favour and on an impartial basis," Ramaphosa told a news conference later.
The president, who is expected to seek re-election as leader of the governing African National Congress party at a gathering due to be held in December, has offered to appear before the ANC's integrity commission, which looks into any unethical or immoral conduct that may involve its members.
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf with additional reporting by Bhargav Acharya and Anait Miridzhanian; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by James Macharia Chege and Mark Heinrich)