Sarb in fur­ther broad­side at Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Ka­belo Khu­malo

THE SA RE­SERVE Bank (Sarb) yes­ter­day piled more pres­sure on Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane in a fresh af­fi­davit op­pos­ing her re­me­dial ac­tion con­tained in the Ciex re­port as the cen­tral bank moves to bring cer­tainty on its man­date.

In its sec­ond set of court pa­pers de­posed with the High Court, Sarb’s gen­eral coun­sel in its le­gal ser­vices unit, Jo­hannes Jur­gen De Jager, said yes­ter­day that it was not enough that Mkhwe­bane had not op­posed the bank’s ini­tial ap­pli­ca­tion to over­turn her find­ings that the man­date of the bank must be changed.

On Tues­day, the North Gaut­eng High Court re­served judg­ment on Sarb’s ini­tial ap­pli­ca­tion to set aside Mkhwe­bane’s re­me­dial ac­tion on the man­date of the bank.

The Re­serve Bank, in its lat­est court chal­lenge to the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s re­me­dial ac­tion, wants the court to also de­clare that she was wrong when she or­dered the Spe­cial In­ves­tiga­tive unit to re­cover the R1.12 bil­lion funds used for the Bankcorp bailout.

“The in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the Re­serve Bank to the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor demon­strates that the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance was re­paid. Not with­stand­ing this and the interview With Dr Stals on De­cem­ber 8, 2016, where the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor in­di­cated that if the Re­serve Bank could demon­strate that the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance was re­paid then that would be the end of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor pro­ceeded to find that an amount was ow­ing by Absa,” De Jager said in court pa­pers.

The lat­est court ac­tion against the now in­fa­mous pub­lic pro­tec­tor into the bailout ren­dered by the Re­serve Bank to Bankcorp comes in a week where the cen­tral heads had taken to pub­lic plat­forms to en­sure the coun­try that the bank’s in­de­pen­dence would emerge.

Sarb’s gov­er­nor Le­setja Kganyago said Mkhwe­bane’s re­port had also raised the ire of the Bank of In­ter­na­tional Set­tle­ments (BIS), which viewed Sarb as a “bea­con” of in­de­pen­dence. BIS is a global fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion owned by cen­tral banks. The re­port had cre­ated un­cer­tainty around the in­de­pen­dence of Sarb.

The rand tanked ear­lier this week when rat­ings agency Moody’s said that while the cen­tral bank’s de­ci­sion last month to cut in­ter­est rates for the first time in five years would boost eco­nomic growth, it also saw the de­ci­sion as a sig­nal of grow­ing po­lit­i­cal pres­sure on the bank.

Cleopa­tra Mosana, the spokesper­son for the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor, said she will be op­pos­ing the mat­ter.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Bu­sisiwe Mkhwe­bane faces fur­ther court ac­tion.

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