African Bank report referred for prosecution

African Bank. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
African Bank. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – The final report of the independent investigation into the collapse of African Bank has now been referred to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, the Democratic Alliance said on Wednesday.

This follows the release of the Myburgh Report on African Bank Limited on May 12, which found that the bank was negligent in its business practice and, in particular, that board members allowed themselves to be dominated by Leon Kirkinis, chief executive of Abil and African Bank.

READ: Final report says African Bank directors failed in duties - source

The Reserve Bank report also found reckless lending practices at the bank, which had 3 million customers and 5 700 employees in 2013.

African Bank made a loss of R5.8bn in the 2013 financial year.

READ: Reserve Bank lifts lid on African Bank demise

“The Banks Act (No 94 of 1990) is clear: If any business of the bank was carried out recklessly or negligently, the report should have been referred directly to the National Director of Public Prosecutions,” said DA shadow minister of finance David Maynier.

He said he had written to the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) governor Lesetja Kganyago questioning why, given the finding that the business of the bank had been carried out recklessly and negligently, the final report had not been referred to the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

A letter dated May 17 by Dr Johann de Jager, general counsel for the Sarb, confirmed that it has now been referred to the NDDP. It reads: 

“…the South African Reserve Bank has considered the report of Adv John Myburgh SC and in light of the findings therein elected to forward it to the National Prosecuting Authority for its decision in the matter regarding any possible criminal prosecution.”

In a November 2015 parliamentary answer into the affairs of African Bank, the former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene said he was uncertain whether a crime had been committed.

“Bank failures are generally the result of a number of factors or actions; and may or may not be due to a crime or intent to commit a crime, but rather due to (for example) bad business judgement, poor risk management or governance systems, or other non-criminal related factors,” said Nene.

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