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'Absa/Ciex report review doesn’t suspend my remedial action' - Busisiwe Mkhwebane

By Staff Writer | 2017-07-15 07:07:20.0

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said on Friday she welcomed the judicial review application brought by Absa of her CIEX report‚ which looked into a bailout granted by the Reserve Bank to Bankorp.

She will decide on what action to take after she has studied the documents. The bank served papers on the public protector on Thursday.

The Reserve Bank‚ Absa‚ Parliament and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba have challenged her findings.

In her report‚ Mkhwebane said the government and the Reserve Bank had not protected the public interest when it bailed out Bankorp between 1985 and 1995. Bankorp was bought by Absa in 1992. She made recommendations to recover the money‚ which included amending the Constitution to change the Reserve Bank’s mandate – a move widely criticised‚ including for having overstepped her powers.

Opinion: Mkhwebane's flip-flopping raises serious questions over her fitness for office 

In her statement on Friday‚ Mbhewebane said that launching the judicial review application does not automatically suspend the implementation of her remedial action.

She cited Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s finding in the Economic Freedom Fighters vs The Speaker of the National Assembly and Others that the public protector’s remedial actions are binding.

He included the proviso that the remedial actions must be implemented — unless it is set aside by a court

“This application provides an opportunity for debate on the allegations of maladministration‚ corruption‚ misappropriation of funds and failure by the governmet to implement the CIEX report and recover public funds.”

Absa has said that it had met its obligations regarding the Reserve Bank “lifeboat”. It disagrees with her findings and recommendations.