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Giving banking details to Public Protector is lawful: FIC

05 September 2019 - 09:12 By Qaanitah Hunter
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu

The Financial Intelligence Centre has confirmed that it is monitoring the legal fight between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane - and if there is a need, they will seek permission to intervene in the case.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the FIC said it was mandated in law to assist the public protector with information when she requested it.

“The FIC wishes to state emphatically that the information provided to the Office of the Public Protector was both obtained and disseminated lawfully in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act,” the statement read.

This comes after Ramaphosa’s lawyer, Peter Harris, wrote to the FIC questioning how and why it handed over all information related to three bank accounts linked to the CR17 campaign.

The president’s legal team alleged that the FIC acted unlawfully by giving Mkhwebane two years worth of bank statements unrelated to the R500,000 donation made by Bosasa boss Gavin Watson in 2017.

In its statement, the FIC defended its decision to hand over the bank statements, which have become the centre of a legal dispute after they had been leaked to the media.

Mkhwebane used these bank statements to base her finding that there was evidence of money laundering by the CR17 campaign. Her report is being challenged on judicial review.

The FIC said it follows the money but does not have a mandate to investigate or prosecute.

“The FIC does not control how the legislated authorities handle the information received from the FIC during the course of their investigation,” it said.