Absa Group CEO Maria Ramos has become the latest person to question the credibility of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's preliminary report into Absa and Bankorp based on legal inaccuracies.
Ramos spoke to EWN's Stephen Grootes at the World Economic Forum in Davos where she indicated that the company would be meeting with Mkhwebane to address the mistakes.
"Advocate Mkhwebane has said it's a provisional report and we as Absa believe there are legal and factual inaccuracies in this report. We will have an opportunity to deal with them when we meet the public protector," she said during the interview.
In the leaked report which was published by the Mail & Guardian, Mkhwebane recommended that Absa must pay back R2.25 billion to the Reserve Bank. The report said it was because of an illegal and improper loan, donation or so-called lifeboat made to a now-defunct bank, Bankorp, which Absa acquired in the early 1990s.
The Public Protector's office said the leak did not originate from it but rather from the implicated parties. Spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said an investigator made a mistake by sending the full report to the implicated parties instead of a section 7(9) notice which gives them access only to their part of the report.
The report has since been questioned with some of the people who were interviewed, who have said they were misunderstood. Former Reserve Bank governor Chris Stals has also thrown a spanner into the works by saying the loan had been paid.
Ramos expressed disappointment over the leaking of the report. Despite that, she still has respect for the work done by the office.
"As an institution, we respect the office and we have no reason not to trust the public protector," she said.
Here is the video interview between Grootes and Ramos: