South African watchdog comments on central bank rattle rand

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She said on Monday that the probe had found that the apartheid government breached the constitution by supplying Bankorp, which was acquired by Barclays Africa unit Absa in 1992, with a series of bailouts from 1986 to 1995.

While Absa bank says it is still waiting to study the Public Protector's full report, it doesn't believe it owes the central bank any money.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has indicated in a press conference in Pretoria on Monday that she still intends to oppose President Jacob Zuma's review of her predecessor's State of Capture report.

According to the report, Madonsela uncovered corrupt activities involved in the Gupta state capture saga, and recommended that a judicial inquisition of enquiry be set up to investigate the matter. "It is our firm position that there is no obligation to pay anything to the South African government", Absa said.

The Presidency announced at the end of a year ago that Jacob Zuma would be taking former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's state capture report on review.

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The Public Protector has probed allegations that CIEX, a covert United Kingdom-based asset recovery agency headed by Michael Oatley, was contracted by Pretoria to assist in investigating and recovering misappropriated public funds and assets allegedly committed during the reign of the apartheid regime.

"R1.25-billion was paid back by Absa, the recovery relates to the interest the banks accumulated over two decades", Mkhwebane said, adding that while Absa was charged 1% interest, they "benefitted" from another 15% in government bonds. CIEX Limited was paid 600,000 British Pounds for services which were never used by the South African government.

The Reserve Bank was not available to comment.

These allegations point to improper or dishonest acts or offences with respect to public funds at the state-owned enterprises as well as well as improper or unlawful enrichment by certain public officials at these institutions.