14/07/2017 06:24 SAST | Updated 14/07/2017 06:24 SAST

Absa: Mkhwebane Had No Jurisdiction To Investigate Bailout

Absa has filed papers in the high court seeking to overturn Mkhwebane's report.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters

Absa says the public protector had no jurisdiction to investigate the apartheid-era bailout case as her office did not exist when the loan was granted. The bank says it is looking forward to airing "the facts" related to its apartheid bailout "Bankorp" case in court, after what it says are years of "baseless" allegations against it.

This follows Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report into the bailout which found that Absa had to pay back more than R1 billion. This was the result of an apartheid era bailout Bankorp, an Absa predecessor, received from the South African Reserve Bank. Absa filed papers in the high court seeking to take the Public Protector's report on review on Thursday.

According to TimesLive on Friday, Absa says it does not owe any money on the loan, that the Public Protector's process was procedurally unfair and that the three year period to recover the monies has passed. Absa also says the public protector has no jurisdiction to investigate it as the loan was given to Bankorp before her office existed.

"In reaching her finding that Absa benefited from the SARB financial support‚ the Public Protector appears to have impermissibly ignored facts and disregarded evidence provided to her.

"It also says that the Ciex investigation offered no reasoning whatsoever for its conclusion that Absa was liable for R3.2 billion. It was merely advice from Ciex that the government should coerce Absa into paying," Absa reportedly said.

Absa also says that by recommend that the President task the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate, Mkhwebane has overreached. She has "exceeded her own powers and usurped the powers of the SIU and the President."

"Furthermore‚ since the debt has prescribed‚ the remedial action requires the SIU and the President to embark upon a process which is entirely irrational in the circumstances," Absa said.