Oakbay: Gordhan’s court papers flawed
Oakbay’s lawyer has questioned the motive behind the minister’s claim against the Gupta owned company.
JOHANNESBURG - Oakbay says the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's court papers implicating the firm's owners in suspicious contracts, are flawed.
The company released a statement earlier this afternoon.
It comes just days after Gordhan revealed in a court affidavit that R6.8 billion in payments made by Aajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta and firms they control have been reported to authorities as suspicious.
The family's lawyer, Gert van der Merwe says, "It's a superfluous application; there's enough case law to show that you can't just approach the courts on any academic or hypothetical relief. It's common cause that there is no dispute regarding the legal obligation of the minister, so I want to know why he wants to go to court with the tax payers' money."
The three usinessmen are the subject of an official investigation into allegations that they have had undue influence over Zuma. The president has denied granting undue influence to the brothers and they have denied seeking it.
Oakbay insists its transactions have been lawful and says its uncovered flaws in the finance minister's application implicating the firm.
The Gupta family has put Gordhan's application down to political games, saying his claims amount to undiluted nonsense.
Van der Merwe says as respondents to the application, the Gupta's will now be able to clear their names.
"There's no unlawfulness to any of these transactions. These transactions are normal transactions in terms of any business conducted in South Africa. There's no sound or sting of any corruption or any unusual nature thereof."
Six of the transactions flagged refer to Optimum Mine before it was under Oakbay's control, the Gupta's lawyer claims that 25 of them totalling R325 million are perfectly legitimate.
He says another five transactions relate to Oakbay Resources and Energy and all information is being supplied to an auditor for review, while 20 transactions require further information from the finance minister.
Yesterday, Nazeem Howa resigned as Oakbay's Chief Executive Officer, citing health reasons.
Howa said all 72 transactions were approved by the bank's processing them.
"The application's detail is fundamentally flawed as of the 72 transactions flagged, our initial analysis shows," the company said in a statement.
Several banks and companies have cut ties this year with Oakbay, without publicly disclosing their reasons. They included South Africa's top four banks: Standard Bank, Nedbank, Barclays Africa's Absa and First National Bank (FNB), part of FirstRand.
Additional reporting by Reuters