Inquiry on Maharaj completed: FirstRand

FirstRand confirmed on Thursday that the a four-month independent inquiry into newspaper allegations of corrupt practices by former Transport Minister Mac Maharaj, a non-executive director of the group, has been concluded, but no decision has been taken on his fate yet.

The inquiry, conducted by attorneys Hofmeyr Herbstein & Gihwala and accountancy firm Deloitte & Touche, was launched after an article in the Sunday Times newspaper on February 16 alleging Maharaj accepted payments of R500 000 from a businessman linked to the R60-billion arms deal while he was transport minister.

FirstRand undertook in May to reach a final conclusion during the course of July, however it said on Thursday the final report had taken longer than expected to complete, mainly due to the fact that Schabir Shaik had only granted the inquiry team an interview on Friday July 26, the banking group said.

“The final report on the investigation was completed on Monday 28 July 2003, submitted to the South African Reserve Bank and the Financial Services Board on Tuesday 29 July 2003 and submitted and discussed by the FirstRand Board at a special board meeting on Wednesday 30 July 2003.

“In addition, to ensure due process, the Board is allowing Mr Maharaj to make a submission responding to the final report. Mr Maharaj has undertaken to submit the response within seven days, and the Board expects to announce a decision shortly thereafter,” FirstRand said in a statement. - I-Net Bridge

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