Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni. File Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has taken the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to court to review her findings against his top official.

In the papers filed in the North Gauteng High Court on Friday, Mboweni said Mkhwebane’s findings against Director-General in the National Treasury Dondo Mogajane were baseless and needed to be set aside.

He also said Mkhwebane had breached the principle of separation of powers by usurping the powers of President Cyril Ramaphosa to deal with matters affecting top officials appointed by him.

The review application comes two weeks after Mboweni promised in the pre-Budget briefing in Cape Town that he will challenge Mkhwebane’s report.

Mkhwebane had found that Mogajane lied after he failed to disclose a traffic offence when he applied for the job of D-G in the National Treasury in 2017.

Mboweni said in the papers this was not true as there were records that Mogajane had disclosed this information after he was alerted of his speeding fine by the State Security Agency (SSA).

It was an oversight on his part when he did not declare this on the application forms, but he told former Finance Ministers Malusi Gigaba and Nhlanhla Nene about it afterwards.

“There was no evidence before the Public Protector to show that Mogajane acted dishonestly,” stated Mboweni in the papers.

“The Public Protector disregarded evidence before her which demonstrated that there was no intention on the part of Mogajane to mislead his employer,” he said.

“Crucially, when he was appointed a deputy director-general in 2015 the National Treasury and the SSA were made aware of Mogajane’s conviction for the traffic offence. Once the existence of his criminal record was drawn to his attention Mogajane made full disclosure of all the relevant facts,” he said in his papers.

The SSA discovered the criminal record when it was vetting Mogajane for the DDG position in 2015.

Mboweni further said Mkhwebane had jumped the gun by ordering Ramaphosa to give her the implementation plan within 30 days.

He said this was a breach of the principle of separation of powers.

Mkhwebane revealed this week that she has faced legal challenges on 21 of her reports, and she can only defend 13 of them because of lack of funds. She told Parliament last year her budget for litigation was very small and asked for more funds.

The legal challenge by Mboweni came after he said the findings were wrong, irrational and without any basis. He said Mogajane never at any point lied about the facts of his traffic fine in 2011.

Saturday Star