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Sarb Denies Being Uncooperative In Mkhwebane’s VBS Saga Probe

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) has denied allegations made by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane that it is not co-operating with her investigation into corruption at the VBS Mutual Bank.

On Thursday, Mkhwebane released findings into 24 cases and touched on the VBS matter briefly.

In a statement released on Friday morning, the Reserve Bank said it wrote to the Public Protector in September and was still awaiting a response.

In her last briefing of the year, Mkhwebane steered clear of some of the much-anticipated prominent cases.

She accused Sarb of being uncooperative in the investigation into the VBS saga and that she was investigating the role of the Sarb in the matter.

“What role did they play in making sure that that issue [the collapse of the bank] is dealt with immediately or expeditiously?” Mkhwebane said.

Mkhwebane said the bank seemed to believe that the Public Protector’s Office didn’t have jurisdiction over it.

“The Reserve Bank is an organ of state in terms of the Constitution. The Public Protector in terms of Section 182 of the Constitution is tasked with investigating any improper conduct in state affairs and in public administration,” she said.

The Public Protector said when dealing with organs of state, they were applying a persuasive approach.

She said if the Sarb did not respond to their calls, they would release findings which she said the bank would probably challenge in court.

It’s not the first time that Mkhwebane and the Reserve Bank have squared off over investigations.

Last year, she accused the bank of giving Bankorp a R1 billion bailout before its merger with Absa – a case which she lost in the Constitutional Court.