PRETORIA (Reuters) – Barclays Africa Group unduly benefited from apartheid-era bailouts and must repay 1.1 billion rand ($86 million), South Africa’s anti-graft watchdog said on Monday.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in January reopened a probe of Barclays South Africa following a wider report published last November by her predecessor.
She said on Monday that the probe had found that the apartheid government breached the constitution by supplying Bankorp, which was acquired by Barclays Africa unit Absa in 1992, with a series of bailouts from 1986 to 1995.
Barclays Africa would have to pay 1.1 billion rand ($86 million), Mkhwebane said, adding that her office had referred the matter to the Special Investigating Unit to help recover the money.
Absa has noted the Public Protector’s statement today regarding her investigation into the SA Reserve Bank’s assistance to Bankorp between 1985 and 1995. Absa acquired Bankorp in April 1992. We have not yet received a copy of the report and we are urgently requesting the Public Protector’s Office to send it to us. Once we have read it we will consider our legal options including seeking a High Court review.
Absa met all its obligations in respect of the loan provided by the SA Reserve Bank by October 1995. It is our firm position that there is no obligation to pay anything to the SA government.
(Reporting by Dinky Mkhize; writing by Ed Stoddard and Tiisetso Motsoeneng; editing by James Macharia and Jason Neely)
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