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Absa challenges Public Protector's claim over remedial action in CIEX report

Absa, the Reserve Bank and Treasury have challenged Mkhwebane’s report into the apartheid era bail-out.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

PRETORIA - Absa has challenged the Public Protector's claim that her remedial action in the so-called CIEX report investigation was merely a recommendation - runs contrary to the clear orders in her final report.

Absa, the Reserve Bank and Treasury have challenged Mkhwebane’s report into the apartheid era bail-out, claiming it was procedurally unfair and rested on material errors of fact and law.

Mkhwebane ordered the Special Investigating Unit to recover more than R1 billion from Absa which she found was unlawfully paid to its predecessor, Bankorp.

But Absa's advocate Gilbert Marcus says Mkhwebane claims in her answering affidavit that the remedial action was not binding but merely a guide.

“She now seems to suggest that her remedial action is to recommend yet another investigation. That scarcely does her office credit. One would have thought that such an outcome is the very kind of maladministration that the office of the Public Protector is intended to prevent.”

He says Mkhwebane also insists the recovery of the debt would be the subject of a separate legal process.

“Despite the unambiguous language she says, ‘My report is not requiring or effecting the recovery of the debt from Absa and other parties. What the report seeks to action is to advise and inform the state of the available remedies in law.’”