Mkhwebane to appear in court on Thursday on three perjury charges

The NPA in December charged Mkhwebane with perjury after adverse findings of the Constitutional Court in her case against the Reserve Bank. The court found that Mkhwebane may have been biased and did not understand her constitutional duty to be impartial.
The NPA in December charged Mkhwebane with perjury after adverse findings of the Constitutional Court in her case against the Reserve Bank. The court found that Mkhwebane may have been biased and did not understand her constitutional duty to be impartial.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is expected to appear in court on Thursday on perjury charges.

She faces three charges in the Pretoria magistrate’s court.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in December charged Mkhwebane with perjury after the findings of the Constitutional Court in her case against the Reserve Bank.

TimesLIVE reported in December that a summons was issued on December 15 for Mkhwebane to appear on January 21.

At the time, Mkhwebane said she would co-operate with authorities.

“As a law-abiding citizen, the public protector will co-operate and present herself to the court on January 21 2021 as required, and is confident the court will clear her of any wrongdoing,” said her spokesperson Oupa Segalwe.

On Wednesday, Segalwe referred all questions to the NPA. “Can’t say anything more than what she said in the statement we issued in December,” he said.

The Constitutional Court found that Mkhwebane had “put forward a number of falsehoods” in her 2017 Absa-Bankorp report, in which she found that Absa must repay R1.1bn to the Reserve Bank for the “lifeboat” lending agreement between the Bank and the then Bankorp, which was later taken over by Absa.

Head of Accountability Now, Paul Hoffman, in 2019 laid criminal charges against Mkhwebane after the ConCourt judgment. The court has also found that Mkhwebane may have been biased in her investigation and did not understand her constitutional duty to be impartial.

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema on Wednesday did want to confirm Mkhwebane’s court date, only releasing a statement saying: “There will be a first appearance of a head of a prominent institution at court 8 at the Pretoria magistrate's court, scheduled for 8.30am tomorrow morning, January 21.”

Mkhwebane is said to be facing three charges relating to her allegedly deliberately lying about meeting former president Jacob Zuma about the report. She stands accused of lying about meeting Zuma on three occasions where the provisional and final Absa-Bankorp report and recommendations were allegedly discussed.

Mkhwebane’s appearance in court comes just days after she was granted an 11-week sabbatical “to get some rest”.

The embattled Mkhwebane was granted the sabbatical by speaker of parliament Thandi Modise on condition that she avails herself for the parliamentary inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

The inquiry, brought by the opposition DA, may lead to her removal over a number of investigations, including the Absa/Reserve Bank matter, which she bungled.

TimesLIVE

LISTEN | Charges against Busisiwe Mkhwebane 'frivolous and contrived' - Dali Mpofu

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