Open Secrets director Hennie van Vuuren says the report by the non-profit organisation, Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is a misstep.
On Tuesday, OCCRP reported that an alleged $5,000 payment was made into Mkhwebane's account in June 2014 and was flagged by the HSBC as part of its investigation into the network of Gupta-linked accounts and companies around the world.
Van Vuuren speaks to Bongani Bingwa about the report.
They have presented a story that is half-baked and doesn't show conclusive and certain that there was any payment from the Guptas. What did happen is that HSBC which is one of the worlds largest bank, was flagging thousands of transactions by politically exposed persons. Remember Mkhwebane at that stage was in our embassy in Beijing.— Hennie van Vuuren, Director - Open Secrets
This payment to her was one of a thousand that was flagged, there is no proof of corruption. I think the danger is when this is inserted into the current debate, it is grabbed on as some kind of 'Stratcom' strategy used to discredit her or alternatively as real proof that she is corrupt. We need to step back and try and look at the facts.— Hennie van Vuuren, Director - Open Secrets
He says there is a far bigger crime involving the bank.
If there is no proof of Mkhwebane being involved in any corrupt dealings, that doesn't retract the fact that we have substantive evidence that shows the complicity of HSBC. And none of this should retract the poor judgments made by Mkhwebane.— Hennie van Vuuren, Director - Open Secrets
Listen below to the full interview: