Absa de­nies ben­e­fit­ing from ‘lifeboat’ loans

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Sipho Mabena

ABSA has told the Pre­to­ria High Court that it did not ben­e­fit from the SA Re­serve Bank “lifeboat” loans as it paid fair value for Bankorp‚ which re­ceived the con­tentious loans.

It ar­gued that pub­lic pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane’s find­ings that Absa im­prop­erly ben­e­fited from the R1.1-bil­lion in il­le­gal gifts that must be re­cov­ered had no fac­tual ba­sis.

Ad­vo­cate Gilbert Mar­cus told the court on be­half of Absa that Mkhwe­bane had ig­nored the find­ings of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion headed by Judge Den­nis Davies which con­cluded that the bank had not ben­e­fited from the Re­serve Bank “lifeboat” scan­dal.

He said this as­ser­tion was sup­ported by ev­i­dence from the Re­serve Bank‚ but that Mkhwe­bane had failed to con­sider this as­pect and in­stead found to the con­trary that Absa im­prop­erly ben­e­fited from the loans.

The Trea­sury rub­bished Mkhwe­bane’s find­ing that the gov­ern­ment failed to re­cover the R1.1-bil­lion, ar­gu­ing that it had no obli­ga­tion to re­cover the funds.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba’s lawyer‚ Ad­vo­cate Tem­beka Ngcukaitobi, told the court that the find­ings of mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion and im­proper con­duct on the part of the gov­ern­ment were based on a le­gal fal­lacy.

He said had Mkhwe­bane both­ered to do a ba­sic read­ing of the con­tract be­tween the SA gov­ern­ment and CIEX – a UK re­cov­ery firm founded by ex-Bri­tish spy Michael Oat­ley – she would have no­ticed it im­posed no re­cov­ery obli­ga­tion on the gov­ern­ment.

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