Competition Commission studying rand manipulation judgment

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The Competition Commission says it is studying the judgment handed down by the Competition Appeals Court on Monday. The judgment sets aside the decision of the Competition Tribunal which orders all accused banks to respond to all the charges placed against them by the Commission for the manipulation of the rand/dollar. The case was dismissed against all South African Banks appealing with the exception of Investec Bank which opted not to appeal.

The latest development in the rand manipulation case has been described as a blow to the Competition Commission. The case, which has attracted much attention, may have reached the end of its road. But Makwe Masilela of Makwe Fund Managers questions the banks that admitted guilt and paid fines and where that now puts them. Late last year, British bank, Standard Chartered agreed to settle the case and pay a fine of nearly R43 million.

“And now you start to wonder, that people or those other banks that cooperated with the Competition Commission and said they will help them and paid admission of guilt or the fines as we might want to call them that the cooperation and the evidence, they said they would provide to the Competition Commission have they already done that? Or not yet? And maybe that kind of evidence the Competition Commission was supposed to use that or intended to use that late when the court was starting to roll out, but as it is now, we are not even yet sure that the cooperation was promised by the other banks whether that was also part of the evidence that the Competition Commission provided,” says Masilela.

At least one local bank has welcomed the decision of the appeals court. Standard Bank says the Group is wholly committed to the rule of law, respects the important role of institutions and upholds South Africa’s Constitutional democracy.

It further says it remains committed to supporting the work of regulators, including the Competition Commission. At the same time, the Competition Commission says it is still studying the judgment.

“The Commission is still studying the judgement and will in due course communicate its next course of action,” says Siya Makunga, CCSA spokesperson.