By Pinky Khoabane
Advocate Paul Hoffman, complainant in Ciex matter, argued there was a “long litany of improper and irregular conduct in the affairs of state” regarding Ciex. He also pointed out “that a considerable amount of public money stands to be recovered, which will well serve the common weal in these times of austerity.” Madonsela’s report focused only on conduct of the democratic SA’s presidents and not the recoverability of the money – R26bn which in today’s financial terms could be R60bn with interest.
After six years of investigating the conduct of former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, in respect of the R26 billion stolen by white capitalists, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was unable to complete the work and present the findings by the time she left office. The information is contained in the Ciex report details of which are covered elsewhere in UnCensored.
The complaint was lodged by Advocate Paul Hoffman of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa (Ifiasa) on 10 November 2010 in which he requested the public protector to look into reasons why the democratic government, despite commissioning the report into apartheid economic plunder and its recovery, didn’t collect the money.
The Office of the Public Protector (OPP) said it wasn’t able to release the findings as it “only had a provisional report by Friday (Madonsela’s last day in office). It was finalised that week. Affected parties must still comment on it”.
This contradicts an earlier response on 16 September 2016 when the office responded thus: “The investigation is completed. The Public Protector is finalising the report with a view to release it before she leaves office in October.”
The office also confirmed newspaper reports that the PP had not completed interviews by the time she left office.
Implicated in the Ciex report among others, are Madonsela’s future boss, Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, Johann Rupert and his father, Anton, former Reserve Bank Governor Chris Stals, ABSA’s Danie Cronje and several politicians and businessmen who were part of grand-scale apartheid economic looting ahead of the ANC’s takeover of power.
Ciex was commissioned by the South African government in 1997 to expose and recover these monies.
The report exposed how the apartheid government looted the state through various schemes including lifeboats given to financial institutions by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). The report identified R26bn that could be recovered and this included the R3.2bn lifeboat to Bankorp which later became ABSA, R3 – R6bn from Sanlam and Rembrandt (Rupert’s Remgro) and upto R5.5bn from Aerospatiale/Daimler Chrysler.
Hoffman in his letter to the public protector says:
“The report (CIEX) contains a long litany of improper and irregular conduct in the affairs of state. It is not clear why the contract between Ciex and the government was suspended, nor is it in the public domain whether the matters raised in the attached document have ever been addressed by government either in the manner foreshadowed or at all”.
He further adds the very important aspect that the investigation by Madonsela could yield the recovery of a lot of public money.
“It is perhaps superfluous to point out that a considerable amount of public money stands to be recovered, which will well serve the common weal in these times of austerity.”
The complaint by Hoffman not only dealt with the conduct of the democratic government but also the recovery of the money. But Madonsela’s investigation was on “only ABSA Lifeboat and failure to recover money given as a loan to Bankcorp”. Public Protector spokesperson, Kgalalelo Masibi, was emphatic that the investigation didn’t go into the recovery of the money. “No,” to the question of whether Madonsela was still investigating the recoverability of the money.
Here’s Hoffman’s full letter
“10 November 2010
FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE PUBLIC PROTECTOR:
Re investigation by the Office of the Public Protector of CIEX report:
The attached report by Ciex, apparently written pursuant to a purported suspension on 31 December 1998 of its contract with the government dated 6 October 1997, has recently come into the possession of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa (Ifiasa). It appears to us to be a genuine document and there is indeed an entity known as Ciex in London.
The report contains a long litany of improper and irregular conduct in the affairs of state. It is not clear why the contract between Ciex and the government was suspended, nor is it in the public domain whether the matters raised in the attached document have ever been addressed by government either in the manner foreshadowed or at all.
Of particular concern to Ifaisa is the part of the document that deals with the “lifeboat” afforded, by way of an illegal gift, by the Reserve Bank to banks which now form part of ABSA during the time of the apartheid regime. There is even an allegation that ABSA made contingent provision for the repayment of the funds utilised as a lifeboat in the reasonable expectation that the post-apartheid government would seek a proper accounting, and repayment with interest, from ABSA. This would appear not to have happened for reasons that are both unclear and potentially sinister.
In the circumstances it seems to us that it would be both appropriate and propitious if your office were to take a pro-active interest in the content of the attachment to this email if it has not already done so in the past. We do not presume to prescribe to you any particular modus operandi as it is obvious that your starting point will be CIEX itself and those functionaries within the state who are alleged to have interacted with CIEX. Billy Masetlha, who signed the contract on behalf of the government, is now a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC at Luthuli House in Johannesburg. The investigation will no doubt unfold depending on the current state of play between CIEX and the government.
It is perhaps superfluous to point out that a considerable amount of public money stands to be recovered, which will well serve the common weal in these times of austerity. It is no doubt also superfluous for us to pass on to you our deduction that the person referred to in the report as “the Gnome” is the former Minister of Finance, Barend Du Plessis.
Please acknowledge receipt of this communication and kindly keep us abreast of your investigations as they progress.
Paul Hoffman SC”