Pub­lic pro­tec­tor wants Bankorp hear­ing de­layed

Mkhwe­bane asks high court to set hear­ing for first quar­ter of 2018

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Moyagabo Maake Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Writer maakem@bdfm.co.za

Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane has failed to file an af­fi­davit ex­plain­ing why her re­port on the Bankorp-Absa bail-out should not be re­viewed and set aside. She has asked the High Court in Pre­to­ria to post­pone this and the sub­se­quent hear­ing to 2018’s first quar­ter.

Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane has failed to file an af­fi­davit ex­plain­ing why her re­port on the Bankorp-Absa bail-out should not be re­viewed and set aside, and has asked the High Court in Pre­to­ria to post­pone this and the sub­se­quent hear­ing to 2018’s first quar­ter.

Mkhwe­bane had given un­der­tak­ings that she was ready to de­fend the re­port — which re­quired the Re­serve Bank’s role as a lender of last re­sort to be re­viewed. The re­port also rec­om­mended that Absa re­pay more than R1bn the Bank had ad­vanced to Bankorp (sub­se­quently ac­quired by Absa) in ful­fil­ment of this role.

She said she would do so in an an­swer­ing af­fi­davit on Oc­to­ber 23, an ex­tended dead­line she has now missed again af­ter the first dead­line of Oc­to­ber 16.

“This ap­pli­ca­tion is made at the back of var­i­ous at­tempts by the ap­pli­cant to se­cure a post­pone­ment of the dates set out in [the] Deputy Judge-Pres­i­dent’s di­rec­tives, by con­sent,” said Mkhwe­bane.

She has asked the court per­mis­sion to file her an­swer­ing af­fi­davit at the end of Jan­uary 2018, with hear­ings in March.

Mkhwe­bane’s pre­vi­ous le­gal team dumped her two weeks be­fore the first dead­line. She ar­gued that the new team was un­able to peruse the court record, which ex­ceeded 7,000 pages, by the re­quired dead­line.

By Oc­to­ber 6, “it was ap­par­ent to the le­gal team that they would not meet the time­lines as di­rected, but also could not, ab­sent an op­por­tu­nity to con­sider the pa­pers … at a cur­sory level, be in a po­si­tion to com­mit to any dates,” ac­cord­ing to Mkhwe­bane.

The Re­serve Bank has re­ject-- ed Mkhwe­bane’s bid to post­pone the court process, say­ing it had tried to ac­com­mo­date the change in at­tor­neys.

Cor­lett Manaka, an at­tor­ney at Web­ber Wentzel act­ing for the Bank, said Mkhwe­bane had not given any ex­pla­na­tion as to why she needed un­til the end of Jan­uary to file her af­fi­davit, and had also failed to ex­plain what work had been done by her for­mer and cur­rent le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives since the re­view ap­pli­ca­tions had been launched.

“No ref­er­ence is made to the fact that on 31 Oc­to­ber 2017, [the Bank], in an en­deav­our to ac­com­mo­date the pub­lic pro­tec­tor, made a pro­posal to the pub­lic pro­tec­tor for an amended timetable for the fil­ing of her an­swer­ing af­fi­davit that would have given her un­til 10 Novem­ber 2017 to file it, so that the hear­ing dates of 5 to 7 De­cem­ber could be main­tained,” Manaka said in his re­sponse.

“No men­tion is made of the fact that this pro­posal was dis­missed out of hand by the pub­lic pro­tec­tor.”

Manaka said Mkhwe­bane should have brought the post­pone­ment ap­pli­ca­tion im­me­di­ately on learn­ing her le­gal team could not process the work­load in time to meet the dead­line.

“She did not do so,” said Manaka. “In­stead, she made re­quests of the other par­ties to agree to a post­pone­ment.”

The Re­serve Bank’s at­tor­neys re­fused, in­stead of­fer­ing an ex­ten­sion to Novem­ber 10 to file her an­swer­ing af­fi­davit, ac­cord­ing to cor­re­spon­dence in­cluded in the court record.

Manaka stressed that the hear­ing needed to take place in De­cem­ber due to the cloud the re­port has brought over fi­nan­cial mar­kets. The longer these ap­pli­ca­tions re­main un­re­solved, the greater the un­cer­tainty in the mar­ket, he said.

THE HEAR­ING NEEDED TO TAKE PLACE IN DE­CEM­BER DUE TO THE CLOUD OVER FI­NAN­CIAL MAR­KETS

Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane

/File pic­ture

Some­thing up sleeve: Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane has failed to file an af­fi­davit ex­plain­ing why her re­port on the Banko­r­pAbsa bail-out should not be re­viewed and set aside.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.