Absa denies benefiting from ‘lifeboat’ loans
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.