Zuma gets more time to swot Public Protector’s report on Absa

President Jacob Zuma has until the end of February to comment on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s provisional report into the apartheid-era Reserve Bank bail-out for Bankorp‚ the presidency said on Friday.

“After studying the provisional report‚ the president requested an extension until the end of February 2017‚ in order to finalise consultations with all relevant role players‚” presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said.

Zuma received the report in December.

The draft report‚ which was leaked earlier this month‚ concluded that Absa should repay R2.25 billion to the fiscus for the Bankorp bailout between 1985 and 1991. Bankorp was acquired by Absa in 1992. In 1997‚ the state asked CIEX — a UK-based asset recovery agency headed by retired British intelligence officer Michael Oatley — to investigate apartheid-era economic crimes in exchange for fees and commission‚ based on amounts recovered.

While a 2000 investigation by Judge Dennis Davis found Absa had paid for the continued assistance in the purchase price‚ the CIEX report‚ on which the public protector relied‚ found that billions were recoverable from Absa.

It has been reported that the draft had serious issues of credibility‚ as former Reserve Bank governor Chris Stals said claims attributed to him in the report were wrong. There has also been allegations that Mkhwebane could have altered the contents of the provisional report‚ compiled by her predecessor Thuli Madonsela. Last week‚ Madonsela refused to comment on whether the content had been changed.