On Monday 28 August 2017, the issue for consideration by the Competition Tribunal was whether the applications launched by the offending banks against the complaint referred to the Tribunal should be dealt with as one application or individually.
Black First Land First (BLF) agrees with the Competition Tribunal – each case must be dealt with on its own merits. Moreover, the case against the 18 banks is strong and the evidence is overwhelming.
We note that although Barclays Africa and Citibank have admitted to guilt and have agreed to assist the Competition Commission to prosecute the other offending banks in exchange for indemnity against prosecution, such cooperation is most likely to amount to lip service and the promotion of impunity on the part of the said banks. These banks should therefore still be prosecuted to the full extent of the law with appropriate sanctions upon conviction to ensure that those wronged receive the necessary relief including reparations.
On 29 July this year BLF charged 18 banks – namely: Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Limited; BNP Paribas; JP Morgan Chase & Co; JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited; Standard Securities New York Inc; Investec Limited; Standard Bank of South Africa Limited; Nomura International plc; Standard Chartered Bank; Credit Suisse Group; Commerzbank AG; Macquarie Bank Limited; HSBC Bank plc; Citibank N.A; ABSA Bank Limited; Barclays Capital Inc; and Barclays Bank plc – for various offences including collusion, corruption, theft, fraud and money laundering relating to price fixing and the division of the markets. In support and corroboration of the allegations contained in the charges against each of the banks BLF submitted a statement by its President, Andile Mngxitama, to the police.
It must be remembered that the Competition Commission has already found the 18 banks to have committed criminal activities and to this end has recommended that they each pay the maximum fine permitted by the Competition Act being 10% of the annual turnover for the last year of transgression. In the meanwhile BLF has engaged the Competition Commission about amending the legislation with a view to increasing the maximum fine to 100% of the turnover for each year of transgression. BLF shall pursue this issue to its finality.
The offending banks have committed the above criminal offences from at least 2007 up to the end of 2015. They continue to act with impunity. The actions of these banks effectively amount to stealing from the poor as their crimes have adversely impacted on the entire economy. We also note how the manipulation of the currency during December 2015, so as to force President Zuma to appoint Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Finance, had cost the country over R500 billion in two days. BLF will continue to expose and take direct action against the massive corruption that the white owned media has glossed over in this respect.
BLF reiterates its call on ABSA to cooperate with the police – just as it did with the Commission – and to help bring all perpetrators to book. ABSA must reveal the truth about the corruption it has been complicit in.
Issued by the National Coordinating Committee of Black First Land First (BLF NCC)
30 August 2017
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