Protector draws more fire from Sarb
THE SOUTH African Reserve Bank (Sarb) has launched another attack on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, saying in its latest court application that Mkhwebane did not understand the central bank’s mandate.
The application by Sarb yesterday relates to Mkhwebane’s finding that the bank failed to recover R1.125 billion from Absa and ordered the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to do so.
The latest application comes hot on the heels of another one, which was heard in the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday, on the proposal by Mkhwebane to clip the Sarb’s powers.
Mkhwebane conceded to the bank’s argument in the first application that Parliament could not amend the constitution and change the powers of the bank.
But in the second application over Sarb’s failure to recover R1.125bn from Absa, Mkhwebane said she would oppose the application.
In papers filed in the high court yesterday, head of legal services at Sarb, Johannes Jurgens de Jager, said there was no basis for Mkhwebane to make such a finding.
It was based on a wild goose chase by the CIEX report, which he described as a “bounty hunter’s tender”, he said.
De Jager said Absa had paid all the money owed for the transaction, pointing out that when Mkhwebane released her report in June, it caused the rand to tank and the reserve bank had to move swiftly to challenge her report.
Remedial action for the SIU to recover the funds given to Absa was flawed, he said.
De Jager said Mkhwebane exceeded her mandate to order the SIU to recover the money.
He also questioned the CIEX report that recommended action against Sarb, saying they were never interviewed by the UK-based agency.
“The CIEX report was a bounty hunter’s report. CIEX stood to earn a substantial commission on amounts recovered,” said De Jager in the papers.
“It had advised the government to coerce payments from those alleged to have benefited from various schemes under the apartheid regime,” he said.
He said the CIEX report had also made sweeping claims about large amounts of money that could be recovered.