NEWS

Absa Fires Second Shot At Public Protector Mkhwebane In Potentially Fatal Blow To Her Report

The bank submitted a supplementary affidavit to the high court on Thursday, claiming there were further grounds for dismissal of the report.

14/09/2017 17:05 SAST | Updated 15/09/2017 07:10 SAST
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Absa on Thursday bolstered its efforts to have the Public Protector's controversial report ordering it to repay R1.125 billion reviewed and set aside.

The bank's supplementary affidavit to the High Court, following the original filed on 13 July, argues there are further grounds for the dismissal of her remedial findings. In the report released in June, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane ordered Absa to pay back over a billion rand following an apartheid reserve bank bailout granted to Bankorp, subsequently bought by Absa.

In Absa's supplementary affidavit submitted on Thursday, it claims the further grounds for dismissal of the report are as follows:

  • Absa suffered a loss from its acquisition of Bankorp rather than gaining financial benefits. The record, Absa claims, "contains documentation... confirming the fact", including an interview with former public protector Thuli Madonsela and Judge Dennis Davis.
  • Documents missing in the record show the Public Protector did not possess critical evidence and made her decisions without enough materially relevant information.
  • Before releasing the report, Mkhwebane met with the presidency's legal advisors, the State Security Agency (SSA) and an "unidentified economist" regarding action against Absa. The bank said Mkhwebane did not give Absa a similar opportunity to discuss the proposed remedial actions.

Mkhwebane came under fire this week after a supplementary affidavit by the SA Reserve Bank revealed that she met with representatives from both the presidency and SSA before finalising the Absa report.

READ: Bombshell Affidavit Casts Doubt On Independence Of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

In Absa's document submitted today, the bank said it is "wholly unclear why and deeply disturbing that the Public Protector was holding meetings... less than two weeks before issuing the report".

"We maintain that the Public Protector violated Absa's right to procedural fairness in the manner in which she imposed the remedial action," the bank said. "These rights have been further violated by meetings with the SSA and the presidency's legal advisers".

Absa said it looked forward to the case being brought to court so it could be "put to rest" and all South Africans "get an opportunity to hear the facts and watch them be interrogated".