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Bankorp-CIEX: Court rejects Open Secrets' intervention bid

Dec 05 2017 12:08
Lameez Omarjee, Fin24

Pretoria – Proceedings for the Bankorp-CIEX report kicked off with non-profit company Open Secrets bringing forward its application to intervene as a friend of the court.

The matter is being heard at the North Gauteng High Court before a full bench of judges including Judge Cynthia Pretorius, Judge Nomonde Patience Mngqibisa-Thusi and Judge Dawie Fourie. It relates to a report Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released in June where her findings called for ABSA to repay R1.125bn for a lifeboat provided to Bankorp by the Reserve Bank during the apartheid era.

Open Secrets filed an application eight days ago to intervene in an effort to ensure that the court’s ruling on the Bankorp-CIEX report does not “close the door” on future investigation and remediation of apartheid era economic crimes.

“Beyond the ABSA/Bankorp bailout, there is significant evidence in the public domain of apartheid-era looting involving domestic and international actors. We ask that the court’s decision takes note of the importance of investigation into these crimes,” Open Secrets said in a statement issued last week.

“The only thing Open Secrets wants to do is make sure the door is not closed and that is relevant in these proceedings. There is no party which has brought that issue before the court and that is what Open Secrets aims to do,” said Advocate Seena Yacoob for Open Secrets.

However the Reserve Bank, minister of finance and ABSA opposed the application on several grounds, including the fact that the filing of its application came eight days before the matter is heard.

The SARB’s counsel argued that the application was irrelevant and the minister of finance’s counsel argued that granting the application would not be in the interest of justice. The Public Protector did not take a position on the application. 

Following an adjournment Judge Fourie handed down the judgment, saying that the application had been refused. 

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