Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
- The Gauteng DPP has taken a decision to prosecute the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, according to the NPA.
- This comes after civil society group Accountability Now laid charges of perjury against her in August, last year.
- She will appear in court in January 2021.
The Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions has taken a decision to prosecute Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane for perjury, NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema confirmed on Tuesday.
“The NPA wishes to confirm that the DPP indeed took a decision to prosecute after he carefully assessed the evidence presented to him by the Hawks. This is in line with the prosecution policy and the law,” he said.
The NPA’s comment followed the leaking of a summons, indictment and private correspondence between the Director of Public Prosecutions in Pretoria and the investigating team.
The case was opened by non-profit organisation Accountability Now in August last year.
The Hawks said in a statement on Tuesday that it had received a summons, but did not name the public protector but stated that the “incumbent” was served with a summons and was set to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on 21 January 2021.
“The summons contains three counts of perjury. The [Hawks] will not engage any further on this matter until such time that the incumbent appears in court,” spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said.
News24 earlier reported that the was investigating Mkhwebane after the anti-corruption pressure group Accountability Now laid criminal charges of perjury and defeating the ends of justice following the findings of the Constitutional Court.
The ConCourt judgement upheld the February 2018 Gauteng High Court ruling that Mkhwebane pay 15% of the Reserve Bank’s legal fees in the Absa/Bankorp review case.
It agreed with a lower court ruling that her entire Absa/Bankorp investigation was flawed, and that she was not honest during her investigation.
the public protector, in a report published on 19 June 2017, had tasked the Special Investigating Unit with recovering R1.125bn in “misappropriated public funds”, describing the funds as an “illegal gift” given to Bankorp by the SA Reserve Bank in the 1980s.
Since Bankorp and other banks were later absorbed into Absa, Mkhwebane ruled that the funds be recovered from Absa.
Following the publication of her report, the central bank, the minister of finance, Absa and National Treasury instituted review applications set aside her directive that the SIU recover funds from Absa. These applications were later consolidated.
The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria set aside Mkhwebane’s findings, citing a “reasonable apprehension of bias” in her work.
That court found she had acted in bad faith and put forward a “number of falsehoods” during the litigation, News24 reported.
Accountability Now director advocate Paul Hoffman SC wrote in the Daily Maverick – in August last year – that the laying of charges was based entirely on the binding findings of the Constitutional Court in the costs spat between the Reserve Bank and the public protector.