by Ndumiso Mlilo
JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- South African Competition Commission said Friday the 17 banks accused of colluding to fix the price of the rand have 20 business days to respond to the allegations.
The commission has accused three South African banks and another 14 international ones of price fixing, saying the banks would use telephones and chatrooms to communicate and agree on when to make bids and buy the rand or sell it.
The commission has promised to put the response of the banks on its website.
The National Treasure also noted that the matter have reached a stage where the banks have to answer for themselves. The Treasury said the case has to be allowed to run its course without prejudice, fear or undue influence.
Yolisa Tyantsi, spokesperson of the Treasury, said they viewed this matter seriously and would welcome any steps against wrong-doing by any financial institutions.
"If proven to be true, it would confirm the pervasiveness of unbridled greed within the ranks of the forex trading sections of banks even after evidence that such behavior has potential to collapse national and global financial systems. This has to be punished and brought to an end," he said.
There was no market conduct supervision in place in the period from 2007 to 2015 when the misconduct was committed. The Treasury pointed out the Reserve Bank of South Africa that supervises the banks is not a market conduct regulator.
"It should be noted that these allegations, if proved to be correct, point to poor market conduct practices at such offending institutions," Tyantsi said.