Johannesburg – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has accused the Gupta family and its associates of launching an organised campaign against National Treasury and himself, according to court papers filed on Monday.
FULL AFFIDAVIT: Gordhan responds to Oakbay
Gordhan filed his counter affidavit in the North Gauteng High Court in Tshwane on Monday morning, after Oakbay Investments filed court papers on January 20.
The papers revolve around a bid by Gordhan in October last year, in which he sought court protection against being forced by the Guptas to intervene in the matter of the bank account closures of Oakbay Investments.
South Africa’s big four banks closed Oakbay’s accounts last year.
As part of the court application, Gordhan listed a Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) report detailing how the Guptas’ businesses made R6.8bn in “suspicious and unusual transactions”.
In court papers, the banks listed concerns about the Guptas, ranging from risks of money-laundering and suspicious transactions to the family being politically exposed persons.
In Gordhan’s latest affidavit he also accused Oakbay Investments of shifting its position over the matter of its closed bank accounts.
“Oakbay’s answering affidavit capitulates on the essential issue before [the] Court. Now Oakbay unequivocally adopts the formal stance that I, as Minister of Finance, indeed have no legal authority or duty to interfere in its banker-client relationships,” said Gordhan.
“Strikingly this belated concession is now embraced by Oakbay as its first and main ground of opposition.
“Thus, after having persistently sought to implore my intervention, Oakbay shifts position to ask this Court to refuse my application on the very basis that Oakbay now accepts that there was indeed no legal basis on which it could seek to impose pressure on me to prevail on the banks to reverse their application of anti-money laundering and related laws and standards,” Gordhan said.
“Oakbay asserts that my application is an abuse because it is politically motivated and retaliatory. There is no merit in this allegation; it is simply scurrilous.
“Oakbay itself concedes its companies’ connection with politically-exposed persons,” added Gordhan.
On January 20, Gupta-linked Oakbay Investments slammed Gordhan’s court application regarding the company as “superfluous” and “riddled with factual and legal errors”.
Oakbay asked the court to “decline to grant the relief” sought by Gordhan and to dismiss the minister’s application with costs.
Oakbay in its affidavit also accused Gordhan of launching the court bid for political gain.
Oakbay Investments slammed Gordhan’s court bid, saying the minister’s reliance on the list of 72 “suspicious transaction reports” is “misplaced and the minister’s application is supported by a flawed analysis and a faulty factual record”.
The company further said that it “never suggested that the minister is required to intervene in the bank-customer relationship” and that Gordhan could “simply have declined to do anything in the exercise of his legal discretion”.
Oakbay Investments said it had made “every attempt” to gain information from the FIC regarding the transactions Gordhan referred to, and that international investigative firm Nardello & Co reviewed the 72 transactions and didn’t find any damning evidence.
The company also alleged that in January 2016 Gordhan met with 60 “captains of industry” where the minister, according to its “sources”, said that “steps must be taken to ‘clip the wings of this family [the Guptas]’.”
For more http://www.news24.com
*This is a developing story.