Pro­tec­tor draws more fire from Sarb

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

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.

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