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Most recent Banking & Finance Law Articles posted

Eskom CFO suspended as banks pile on pressure

Eskom CFO Anoj Singh was suspended yesterday by the board of directors after lenders threatened to recall their loans if no action was taken against him. A Business Day report recalls that Singh has been at the centre of corruption allegations at Eskom that include providing financial assistance to the Guptas to buy Optimum mine through authorising pre-payments and a R1.6bn guarantee for the finance.


Mercantile Bank accused of illegal asset

Mercantile Bank has been taken to court over allegations it conspired with an alleged fraudster in illegal asset stripping worth hundreds of millions of rands. A Fin24 report says the litigation could not have come at a worse time, as the Portuguese-owned and SA-based bank is up for sale. Alert Steel is seeking damages of R351m caused by alleged ‘mastermind’ Rayhaan Hassim, Mercantile Bank and West Lake Trade and Investments following what it believes was an illegal liquidation process in 2014.


No rush to privatise Reserve Bank

In what is seen as a sop to those, prompted by the Public Protector's remedial action in the Absa matter directing a change in the central bank's mandate, the ANC has agreed that the Reserve Bank should be owned by the state, notes Legalbrief. The party's economic transformation subcommittee head Enoch Godongwana confirmed this yesterday, but added it won't happen anytime soon.


Mkhwebane cannot order constitutional change

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s recommendation to amend the Reserve Bank’s constitutional mandate had nothing to do with her investigation into the apartheid-era Bankorp ‘lifeboat’, and was only aimed at stripping the Bank of its powers to maintain price stability, the bank said yesterday, according to a Business Day report. Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago, applied to the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) to review and set aside sections of Mkhwebane’s report on the lifeline granted to Bankorp, which Absa subsequently acquired.


Man's battle with bank falls flat

A man’s ambitious KZN High Court (Durban) bid to have Wesbank’s trading licences revoked, has fallen flat on its face, notes a report in The Mercury. Sivapragasen Naidu also wanted the SA Reserve Bank to ‘reprimand and enlighten Wesbank of their failure to comply with the Banking Code of Conduct, government regulatory Acts’ and for the court to order the bank to pay him a R4.6m counterclaim he lodged in 2011, following court action being instituted against him.


Don't undermine Reserve Bank

SA should protect the independence of the Reserve Bank and must evaluate what effect the recommendations of the Public Protector to alter its mandate will have on the institution, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says, according to a BusinessLIVE report. ‘I respect the right of the Public Protector to make whatever determination but I also support fully the independence of the South African Reserve Bank,’ Gigaba said a Bloomberg Television interview in London.


Bank's reliance on 'accelerator' clause dismissed

The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) has refused to enforce an ‘accelerator’ clause in a home loan agreement based on a 2016 Constitutional Court judgment making it much more difficult for banks to take back the homes of defaulters, a Beeld report notes.


Backdating of dividend witholding tax questioned

Government’s decision to increase the rate of a dividend withholding tax and apply it from 22 February 2017 when the Budget Speech took place creates tax uncertainty, Parliament was told yesterday, according to a Fin24 report. The Standing Committee on Finance hosted public hearing on the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of the Revenue Laws Bill, which will enable tax rates changes announced during the 2017 Budget.


Fica Bill signed, but ConCourt challenge looms

If Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba fails to postpone implementation of the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (Fica) Bill – President Jacob Zuma signed the Bill into law on Saturday – the Progressive Professionals Forum (PPF) will challenge the legislation in the Constitutional Court on the grounds that it gives undue powers to the banking sector, notes Legalbrief. PPF spokesperson Luther Lebelo reportedly told News24 that the organisation supports the Bill’s aim to combat crime, but wants to ensure the rights of its members are not discarded.


Defrauded clients launching legal action against banks

A man who lost R1.8m from his bank account is part of a growing group of outraged clients gearing up for a legal fight with banks, says a Fin24 report. The banks implicated by more than 20 clients are Absa, Standard Bank, FNB and Capitec. The mobile network providers are Vodacom and MTN. ‘We hope to launch in the next few weeks but as more information comes out and victims come forward, we are considering all avenues,’ attorney Johan Victor reportedly told Fin24.


Judge orders R100m returned to alleged Ponzi scheme investors

A Cape Flats pastor accused of running a multi-million ponzi scheme has lost his first round in court after a judge ordered that R100m in funds be handed back to his ‘investors’, according to a Daily Voice report. Colin Davids, the director of Platinum Forex Group, faces charges of fraud, contravention of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, under which he was not registered or licensed to act.


Clients challenge banks over accounts fraud

A group of 20 bank clients defrauded via Internet banking or SIM swops have launched a legal offensive regarding the way the banks and the Banking Ombud treat these cases. According to Rapport, the 20 clients of Absa and Standard Bank – who have all lost between R1m and R2m without compensation from the banks – have instructed attorney Johan Victor to proceed with litigation. They claim they never acted negligently nor gave out personal information that could have compromised their accounts.


Fica Bill may be challenged in ConCourt

The fight to stop the anti-graft Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (Fica) Bill becoming law has been stepped up with a threat to take it to the Constitutional Court if it is approved by Parliament next week, notes Legalbrief. The Black Business Council and the Progressive Professionals Forum yesterday insisted that the Bill was not consistent with the provisions of the Constitution, and Parliament should not approve it.


Graft, nepotism cost Johannesburg millions – AG report

Three officials employed by the state benefited from the City of Johannesburg to the tune of R18.5m, according to an Auditor-General report released yesterday. Corruption, nepotism and the falsification of documents are some of the issues revealed by the Auditor-General in the city’s integrated annual report for the 2015-2016 financial year, says a City Press report.


Absa to defend Hlongwane's R7m claim

Absa will defend the case brought by businessman Fana Hlongwane, who is suing the bank for R7m after it closed his business bank accounts in 2013. A Fin24 report notes the closure followed the bank’s review of Hlongwane’s firms in terms of its policy on politically-exposed people. The review was sparked following the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the arms deal.


Arms deal man sues Absa over accounts closures

Politically-connected businessman Fana Hlongwane, whose bank accounts were closed after he underwent review as a politically-exposed person in 2013, is suing Absa for R7m, claiming the closure of his accounts was unlawful and that the bank had violated his constitutional rights, says a Business Day report.


Bank entitled to close accounts

In a significant ruling – given the Treasury’s pending application seeking a declaration that it may not intervene in the relationship between the big four banks and the Gupta family – the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) yesterday found Absa Bank’s bona fides could not be questioned when in 2013 it closed the accounts of businessman Fana Hlongwane and his companies, notes Legalbrief.


The benefits of reits and their tax implications

Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”) posted the highest year-on-year return on investment (ROI) of any asset class in South Africa in October 2015. According to data from Catalyst Fund Managers REITS returns reached 15.6%, with a year-on-year ROI of 20.2%. Conversely, equities posted returns of 11.3% and bonds posted at 4%.


Five convicted of helping to move R135m

Five Chatsworth, Durban, relatives admitted in the Commercial Crimes Court that they helped a Durban-based Chinese businessman transfer more than $10m (about R135m) home illegally, says a Sunday Tribune report. The accused – Mohammed Ebrahim, Bilkis Karim, Rohaida Valley, Ebrahim Cassim and Iqbal Hoosen – who are all unemployed, pleaded guilty to charges relating to breaching the SA Reserve Bank Act. They allegedly moved large sums in multiple transactions.


Application reveals dodgy pension fund goings-on

A Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) application has exposed how the chairperson of a R12bn pension fund irregularly obtained a home loan, secured by the fund, to buy a Mercedes-Benz and to pay off his tax bill, says a City Press report. Despite being accused of contravening section 19(5) of the Pension Funds Act, Ron Field remains in his post as chair of the National Fund for Municipal Workers – a fund that holds the pensions of 43 000 municipal workers. However, notes the report, the fund has defended its decision to keep its chair on the board, saying although his behaviour was not ‘squeaky clean’, it wasn’t criminal.





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