Froliana Joseph, a key component in the $4m Phala Phala theft in 2020, says she knows nothing about the burglary or the Namibians who allegedly stole the cash.
News24 found Joseph at Vingerkraal, a village near President Cyril Ramaphosa's game farm. She said she had no relation to the Namibians listed by former spy chief Arthur Fraser as the heist's perpetrators.
"I don't know them... I read in the papers that my name is there and that I stole money, but I don't know anything "saying,
The 29-year-old cleaner is the first alleged burglar to speak publicly. She insisted she wasn't the one who led thieves to the loot.
She said she was questioned by police on 4 June about Fraser's bombshell charges of money laundering, kidnapping, and a secret, extrajudicial inquiry directed by Major-General Wally Rhoode, director of the Presidential Protection Unit.
Joseph said two individuals in a black Toyota Fortuner presented themselves as officers days after Fraser revealed the crime.
Joseph has worked at Phala Phala since 2013 and denies finding cash in furniture.
"Why aren't the robbers being sought? Nothing. If I stole money, I'd have left already "saying,
She denied knowing Petrus Muhekeni, Petrus Afrikaner, Ubranus Lomboleni Shaumbwako, Erkki Shikongo, and Imanuwela David, all named by Fraser as burglars who spent millions on cars, property, and jewelry.
Joseph found her name and images on Facebook. Imanuwela David is a friend.
She said two phones containing photos of her were stolen, and thieves registered a Facebook profile and added friends, most from Namibia.
"My phones with the photos were stolen. No Facebook for me "said Joseph.
She wouldn't say when the phones were stolen or why a fake Facebook account was created with her name and photos.
Fraser claimed the burglary occurred on 9 February 2020 in an affidavit supporting the criminal case against Ramaphosa and Rhoode this month. CCTV footage of the burglary showed two men stealing and moving security cameras with a pole.
They allegedly removed a windowpane and entered the main farmhouse, then fled with money.
At the president's Phala Phala residence, staff members, including Joseph, were questioned. The housekeeper was fired... Ramaphosa reinstated her after speaking with her father.
"Upon reinstatement, the domestic worker was paid R150 000 cash in exchange for her promise not to divulge any information," he said.
Joseph denied again.
"My dad only sees Ramaphosa on TV. You won't find any money in my bank accounts. I have no Namibian friends or family "saying,
Two anonymous sources from the Namibian community in Bela Bela told News24 that many of their countrymen settled in Vingerkraal and that rumors of the burglary spread quickly.
"Everyone knew... Fraser's friends had lots of money and lovely cars "saying
"Everyone in Namibia knows Froliana from Vingerkraal and Phala Phala," he remarked.
Vingerkraal is an informal village near Cyril Ramaphosa's estate.
A cluster of corrugated iron shacks surrounds a church and a school in this veld hamlet. Residents denied knowing "Froliana" when News24 visited the community on Monday.
After sources identified her home and mother's restaurant, her immediate neighbour denied knowing Joseph.
Crime Intelligence Division brass were charged with backchannel tracing of the thieves, News24 reported last week.
Two individuals said Rhoode asked then-CI leader Peter Jacobs for manpower and resources to investigate the dollar heist, which was never reported. This covert technique, outside of standard investigative tactics, has muddled the cash's source.
Top cops 'knew' about Ramaphosa's game farm robbery
After unlawfully crossing the border, Namibian police verified David's arrest in June 2020. South African police publicized his arrest and allegation that he funded his opulent lifestyle with robbery profits.
Prosecutors in Namibia reportedly urged South African authorities for more information to support legal proceedings to safeguard assets allegedly bought with crime profits. Nobody replied.
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