The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has slated Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in court papers filed on Monday, saying she was "required to be a check on the abuse of state power, not a vehicle for it".
In its affidavit, the SARB has accused Mkhwebane of making up new reasons in her replying affidavit, filed last week, that details how she arrived at the conclusion that Absa benefitted from a controversial 1980s bailout of Bankorp.
The SARB and Absa are challenging Mkhwebane's findings about the controversial Bankorp rescue package. The Public Protector ruled Absa should pay back the loan and also recommended that the SARB's constitutional mandate be amended.
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The SARB will ask for a costs order and has noted that Mkhwebane had broken "virtually every rule" that applies to state institutions when it is taken to court.
Johannes de Jager, the SARB's general counsel in its legal services department, added that in its founding affidavit, the SARB set out in great detail a number of questionable meetings Mkhwebane had with the Presidency and the South African State Security Agency, but that she had not been "candid or forthright" about those meetings.
Mkhwebane discussed the amendment of the SARB's constitutional mandate with the Presidency, for an unknown reason.
The SARB argued that these meetings -- which were odd from the outset but became even more troubling considering that no transcripts were kept -- amounts to an abuse of process and that the court should declare it as such.
The SARB specifically asked for details about the public protector's meeting with the Presidency on June 7, 2017 as well as a transcript of the conversation. But nothing came of it.
The SARB then really climbed into Mkhwebane, suggesting that she has let herself be abused by people with ulterior motives:
There's simply no way that any further investigation into Bankorp, Absa or the SARB can or should be referred back to her office because her investigation and report is now tainted, the papers continued.