Johannesburg - Public Protector Busi Mkhwebane allegedly lied to the Constitutional Court under oath and used public funds to fight her personal battles.
In a damning affidavit filed by the Reserve Bank’s general counsel Johannes de Jager, Mkhwebane is accused of making “further false statements under oath” in a bid to exonerate herself from her controversial investigation into the R3.2billion lifeboat extended to Bankorp by the central bank between 1986 and 1995. De Jager said instead Mkhwebane merely compounded the case against her.
In her court papers, Mkhwebane claimed she “mistakenly referred” to one of the meetings she had with former president Jacob Zuma’s office. She blamed the hurried manner and very tight time-frame in which her high court answering affidavit was prepared, saying she and her legal team had to study a volume of court papers in a few days.
De Jager dismissed this as “disingenuous”, saying Mkhwebane falsely claimed the meeting was about something it could not possibly have been about. He said her explanation was also false as she had more than two months, not a few days, to answer to the case against her.
De Jager added that Mkhwebane now described one of her meetings with Zuma’s office as a “meet and greet” and provides new e-mails she failed to disclose to the high court.
“In her affidavit before this court, Mkhwebane has sought to distance herself from the patently false account of the 25 April, 2017 meeting with the Presidency,” De Jager said.
The Reserve Bank is appealing Mkhwebane’s decision to approach the apex court to reverse the North Gauteng High Court order forcing her to personally pay 15% of the bank’s legal costs.
The Concourt has been asked to declare that Mkhwebane abused her office during the investigation into the lifeboat to Bankorp. “Mkhwebane’s founding affidavit is devoted to showing that these high court findings are wrong. However, in her efforts to do so, she compounds the case against her. Rather than exonerating her conduct, Mkhwebane makes further false statements under oath,” De Jager stated in his affidavit.
He said Mkhwebane misrepresented facts, made further disclosures of documents never included in the high court case as they should have been and “fails to provide any basis at all to question the damning findings against her”.
Mkhwebane has approached the Concourt to overturn the high court order for her to pay 15% of the Reserve Bank’s legal costs on the basis that it would negatively affect the functioning of the Chapter Nine institution. But De Jager refuted this.
He also accused her of using the funds of the Office of the Public Protector to bring her application.
In her report, set aside by a full high court bench, she found that the bailout paid to Bankorp was unlawful and ordered Absa to pay back R1.25bn to the state.
Her application for direct access to the Concourt was granted on Monday and is set down for November.
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