Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has laid criminal charges with the police over the leaking of its draft Absa report, her office said on Tuesday.
Spokesperson Oupa Segalwe told News24 the action was to establish how the leak had occurred and who was behind it.
He said in terms of the Public Protector Act, information could only legally be publicised with Mkhwebane’s consent.
“Leaking information dents the image of the institution and results in a trust deficit. It could lead to people not trusting our processes, especially whistle blowers who may not be identified,” he said.
Those implicated may feel hard done by if provisional reports are published before they had been given the right of reply, Segalwe said.
The report was based on an investigation by UK company CIEX in 1997 which probed claims that the Bankorp group of banks, bought by Absa in 1992, had been offered R1.5bn under the guise of a bailout before the dawn of democracy.
The leaked provisional report’s remedial action includes that Absa should pay back R2.25bn to the fiscus.