POLITICAL NEWS - Addressing the media shortly after the International Association of Financial Crime Investigators (IAFCI) conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Hawks boss Godfrey Lebeya confirmed that an investigation into Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is underway, but wouldn’t divulge further details.
This follows anti-corruption pressure group Accountability Now laying criminal charges of perjury and defeating the ends of justice against Mkhwebane, with the group’s director Paul Hoffman submitting an affidavit to the police at the Ocean View Police station in Cape Town on Monday.
In addition to the charges, Accountability Now also lodged a maladministration complaint against Mkwhebane with her own office, which will now be obliged to investigate it.
Last month, Accountability Now asked the Legal Practice Council to strike Mkhwebane off the roll of advocates for perjury and for attempting to mislead the court.
This came after the Constitutional Court agreed with the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that her entire ABSA/Bankorp investigation was flawed, and that Mkhwebane had not been honest during her investigation. The high court set aside her Bankorp-CIEX report, which stated ABSA had to repay R1.125 billion, in February.
The National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Justice will also investigate Mkhwebane’s suitability for office after the DA requested such a probe. Several civil society organisations asked that this inquiry be expedited.
As the pressure on her mounts, Mkhwebane complained of a smear campaign against her because she was investigating “untouchables”.
Her most recent findings are against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, relating to the so-called “rogue unit” at the South African Revenue Service, and President Cyril Ramaphosa, relating to the donation of R500,000 from Bosasa boss Gavin Watson for his 2017 ANC presidential campaign.
Both are taking her findings on review and have been critical of Mkhwebane in their court papers.