Public pro­tec­tors dif­fer on Absa deal

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Katharine Child

FORMER public pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela found it would be un­law­ful to ex­pect Absa to pay back the govern­ment money that was used to bail out Bankorp‚ but her suc­ces­sor, Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane, has re­leased the same re­port with the op­po­site find­ings.

Absa filed a sec­ond af­fi­davit yes­ter­day in its case to have the public pro­tec­tor re­port that it pay back the money be set aside.

Absa bought Bankorp af­ter it was bailed out by the apartheid govern­ment’s Re­serve Bank and Mkhwe­bane al­leged Absa should pay back the state money used for the deal.

When she re­leased the re­port, Absa de­manded the record of doc­u­ments she used to make her de­ci­sion.

She pro­vided some of them to court but not all.

Those pro­vided re­veal that Madon­sela came to a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion to Mkhwe­bane.

In its sec­ond af­fi­davit‚ Absa re­vealed that Madon­sela came to the con­clu­sion it would not be law­ful‚ rea­son­able or fair to re­cover as pre­scrip­tion and dic­tates of fair­ness to cur­rent Absa in­vestors mil­i­tate against any ac­tion to re­cover.

In a state­ment Absa said: “The fact that the cur­rent public pro­tec­tor came to a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion is sig­nif­i­cant.”

The record also shows how Mkhwe­bane had dis­cussed the idea with the se­cret ser­vice and an econ­o­mist that govern­ment should take shares in Absa as a way to pay back money.

Fur­ther­more, the record in­di­cates Mkhwe­bane was miss­ing some of the tran­scripts from in­ter­views that Madon­sela used to write her re­port.

“It is not clear on what ba­sis Ms Mkhwe­bane chose to ig­nore Madon­sela’s con­clu­sions‚” Absa said.

The bank has asked for the com­plete record lead­ing up to why Mkhwe­bane made her de­ci­sion.

“To date‚ the public pro­tec­tor failed to furnish us with the com­plete record.

“There are many out­stand­ing crit­i­cal doc­u­ments, many of which the public pro­tec­tor says she has not had sight of‚” Absa said.

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