Consumers of our local newspapers would have been startled to read, in The Star last week, a smear job accusing former Absa CEO Maria Ramos of "treason or corruption" for allegedly "fixing the rand".
It’s hard to quantify the Olympic-level financial illiteracy, not to mention basic disinformation, entailed in this statement.
Had The Star done just a bit of basic research, it would have found that it was Absa itself which discovered that two of its traders may have been involved in manipulating currency trades, and tipped off authorities. These traders were part of a group of 30 at other banks too.
Never has there been even a sliver of evidence showing that Ramos, Absa’s executive or her board knew of this. In 2017 Ramos apologised for what happened, and said: "Those who contravened our rules will be held accountable."
But The Star, weighing in on Ramos’s appointment as chair of AngloGold Ashanti, extrapolates this to say, revealingly: "It’s really bizarre that in our society, [public protector Busisiwe] Mkhwebane is shunned while Ramos is celebrated."
Well, not really. Ramos hasn’t had almost anything major she does overturned by a court. Her work was never declared the product of a "wholly irrational process bereft of any sound legal or factual basis". And she wasn’t part of any "rand fixing". Don’t believe a word of it.
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