Absa thanks customers‚ staff after Bankorp victory
Absa thanked its customers and staff on Friday after it scored a legal victory in the High Court in Pretoria against Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
The ruling related to an investigation into apartheid-era loans granted to Bankorp‚ which Absa purchased in the 1990s.
Absa was the source of protests and scorn after it was accused of failing to repay the loan to the Reserve Bank. Absa customers and employees were often caught in the fray. Last July the bank secured an interdict in the High Court in Johannesburg‚ prohibiting the Black First Land First (BLF) movement from intimidating its customers on its premises.
Below is Absa's full statement on the court ruling:
This morning‚ a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria delivered its judgment in the matter between Absa Bank and the Public Protector‚ a review application by Absa of the Public Protector’s finding that Absa is liable to pay R1.25bn to the government.
The court found in Absa’s favour by setting aside the Public Protector’s remedial actions and awarded punitive costs against the Public Protector.
We welcome the decision of the court. It confirms our position and submissions to the Court that Absa does not owe any money to the government because it paid fair value for Bankorp.
The Court found that the Public Protector “did not conduct herself in a manner which should be expected from a person occupying the Office of the Public Protector”.
The Court found that the remedial actions of the Public Protector “were a product of a procedurally unfair process and are unlawful” and “the process was not impartial”. We are pleased that the Court agreed with our argument with regards to the procedural fairness of the Public Protector’s process.
The Court also found that the Public Protector’s remedial action with regards to the Special Investigating Unit was unlawful and should be set aside.
The Bankorp matter has been the subject of uninformed speculation and false accusations against Absa for a very long time. We hope the decision of the High Court puts the matter to rest.
Our sincerest thanks go to our customers and staff who sometimes had to endure harassment at some of our branches while this matter remained unresolved. We appreciate their patience and loyalty during a very challenging time.