wnol.info March 24 2018

Public protector: State, Reserve Bank failed to recover Absa billions

March 24 2018, 11:39 | Guillermo Bowen

In a statement, Absa said, "The Provisional Report does not address at all the fact that Absa paid fair value when it acquired Bankorp, which value was calculated to take into account the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) assistance i.e. Absa paid for the SARB assistance to Bankorp and did not benefit therefrom".

Shares in Barclays Africa fell 2.61 percent to 142.68 rand by 1253 GMT.

"We will continue to honour our constitutional mandate and the trust placed in us by the South African society".

Mkhwebane said the conduct of government and the SARB constitutes "improper conduct and maladministration". That phrase has been central to South African monetary policy since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.

Her office told the newspaper that the reports were pending, not buried.

It is unclear why she deviated into monetary policy as she delivered her findings against Barclays Africa, a tangent that Nomura emerging markets economist Peter Attard Montalto described as touching "Pandora's Box".

Nevertheless, he said any changes to the central bank's mandate were unlikely to happen in the short to medium run given the legal pushback that was likely to come from the SARB itself.

Barclays Africa would have to pay 1.1 billion rand ($86 million), Mkhwebane said, adding that her office had referred the matter to the Special Investigating Unit to help recover the money.

South Africa's graft ombudsman said she will oppose a lawsuit filed by President Jacob Zuma aimed at overturning a report drafted by her predecessor that indicated he may have breached the government's code of ethics in his dealings with members of the Gupta family.

The bank says after reading the Public Protector's full report it will consider its options which may include a judicial review.

Absa denied any wrongdoing.

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