Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has dismissed a statement released by the Gupta-owned Oakbay as “sensational and politically driven”.
Gordhan said in a statement released by National Treasury on Saturday that Oakbay’s claims were “designed to deflect from the primary issues raised in the Minister’s declaratory order”, adding that he would respond in a replying affidavit to be filed on January 27.
Treasury also questioned why‚ if Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments does not contest Gordhan’s legal contentions‚ it is calling on the court to refuse a declaratory order he has applied for.
Gordhan approached the High Court in Pretoria in late 2016, asking it to make a declaratory order that he is not permitted by law to interfere in matters between banks and their clients. This stemmed from Nedbank, First National Bank, Standard Bank and Absa withdrawing their services from the Gupta family and their companies, citing risk.
In his founding affidavit, Gordhan highlighted 72 “unusual and suspicious” transactions amounting to billions of rands that had gone through Oakbay accounts and some members of the Gupta family, which had been flagged by the Financial Intelligence Centre.
Gordhan had said in his papers that the Guptas had tried to exert pressure on him to intervene. However, Oakbay denied this had ever been the case in the statement it released on Friday. Instead, the company questioned why Gordhan had even dragged the courts into the matter in the first place.
The case is set down for March 28.