Mkhwebane opens criminal case over leaked Absa report

The report which links Absa to an apartheid era bailout worth billions of rands was leaked last week.

FILE: Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has opened a criminal case over the leaking of the provisional Absa report.

The report which links Absa to an apartheid era bailout worth billions of rands was leaked last week.

It details how the banking institution benefited from a state sponsored bailout towards the end of apartheid in the 90s and recommends that the bank pays back R2.2 billion that it received from state coffers.

Public Protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe says Mkhwebane wants police to investigate the circumstances that lead to the leak.

"Such leaks have a negative impact on the brand of the Public Protector and the credibility of the institution including the investigation that's going forward."

The Public Protector's office undertook the investigation during Madonsela’s term in office.

At a briefing in Cape Town on Monday, Madonsela said that although she had concluded her probe she had not signed off on the report before it came under new Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane's
supervision.

She has told the briefing that she personally started investigating an alleged pre-apartheid bail out to Absa bank.

But there were many legal hoops to jump through, delaying the probe.

“The fact that it took longer, doesn't mean it was less important. The horse had already bolted. It was about what information we could collect.”

Madonsela says only an “administrative error” had prevented her from signing off on her provisional report, before she left office last October.