'No adverse consequences expected on Optimum purchase'

The Gupta family lawyer says he has extensive knowledge on the Optimum deal.

FILE: Nazeem Howa. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The lawyer representing the Gupta family says he'll be surprised if there are any adverse consequences for the former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa and his dealing in the Optimum Coal mine purchase.

The Sunday Times reported that Howa could still find himself in some trouble after allegedly being involved in corruption with regards to the purchase of Optimum Coal.

Howa resigned recently as Oakbay's CEO, citing health issues.

Attorney Gert van der Merwe says he has extensive knowledge on the Optimum deal.

"I've also indicated that I had a fair amount of knowledge of how the Optimum deal went through and how it was structured. So I'll be surprised if there's any consequences that follows him whatsoever."

Shortly after his resignation last week, Howa said the company would be recognised as the type that South Africa needs in time - one that is innovative, creates jobs, pays tax and abides by the law.

In court papers filed by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, it shows that Howa asked the minister to intervene in the Gupta family's dispute with four major banks that closed their accounts.

Howa's resignation came just days after a bombshell affidavit by Gordhan revealed that nearly R7 billion worth of financial transactions made by companies aligned to the Gupta family were suspicious.

The family has come under pressure due to allegations that they influenced President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet appointments, details which have apparently been outlined in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's state capture report.

The Guptas and Zuma's son Duduzane resigned from Oakbay in April after four major banks cut ties with the family, closing their accounts.