Oakbay Investments on Tuesday released the full affidavit it submitted to the North Gauteng High Court in a bid to access information held by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) over 72 “suspicious and unusual” transactions as alleged by the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
In its affidavit, Oakbay Investments said it intended to make an application to the High Court on March 23, 2017 so that it can obtain copies of the report received by FIC from Gordhan.
According to the Financial Intelligent Centre Act, “no person is entitled information held by the Centre, except in terms of an order of a court”.
Oakbay said it had applied to the court so that it could demonstrate the legitimacy of each transaction and had released its affidavit to ensure full transparency.
“Oakbay Investments looks forward to clearing its name of any wrong doing,” the company said in a statement.
Other applicants in the affidavit include Gupta-owned companies such as Oakbay Resources and Energy, Shiva Uranium, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, Blackedge Exploration, TNA Media, VR Laser Services, Sahara Computers and others.
In the affidavit released on Tuesday, acting Oakbay Investment chief executive Ronoca Ragavan said the Gupta family members and their businesses were persecuted in a court of public opinion when they had never had criminal charges instituted against them.
“I can confirm that I am not aware of any adverse judgement, order or finding by any court in any criminal proceedings or any institution with the necessary authority indicating that any of the applicants or the Gupta family were found guilty or any criminal offense or wrongdoing,” Ragavan said.
“Any report or allegation to the contrary will be untrue. This is, however, not how the applicants or the Gupta family are treated despite a cherished Constitution dictating otherwise.”
Earlier this year, four major South African banks closed the accounts of the Gupta-owned holding company, Oakbay Investments, and its associated companies over undisclosed and possible “wrongdoing”.
The controversial Gupta family, which enjoys close friendship with President Jacob Zuma and his family, has been implicated in “state capture” allegations which suggested that it had undue influence in the appointment of cabinet ministers and heads of state-owned companies, who in turn allegedly did their business bidding.
In a desperate attempt to have their bank accounts reinstated, then Oakbay Investments chief executive Nazeem Howa met Gordhan and pleaded with him to intervene in a dispute with the country’s major banks.
Howa argued that the closure of Oakbay Investments bank accounts would be catastrophic, not only to the business, but also to about 7 500 employees from its group of companies with a R3.8-billion turnover.
But Gordhan told Howa he could not intervene as Finance Minister.
Gordhan later made an application to the high court in Pretoria for a declaratory order confirming that he cannot intervene in a dispute between Oakbay Investments and the banks that closed its accounts.
In his affidavit to the High Court, Gordhan released information from the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) which detailed the R6.8-billion in transactions made over four years by Gupta family members and Gupta-owned companies.
Zuma has put together a team of ministers to probe the matter, but last week in Parliament he complained that “up to now we don’t know” why they closed the bank accounts. He added the actions by the banks and financial houses against Gupta owned companies was “suspicious”.