Gordhan denies vendetta against the Guptas
Genevieve Quintal | 2017-01-31 06:25:52.0
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. File Photo.
Image by: Ruvan Boshoff
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has vehemently denied suggestions that he is involved in a vendetta against the Gupta family. Instead, he has accused the Guptas of waging an organised campaign against him and the Treasury.
“There is nothing ‘improper’ or ‘political’ in an incoming minister of finance distancing himself from an influential family alleged to have been involved in the appointment of his immediate predecessor,” said Gordhan in a replying affidavit submitted to the Pretoria High Court yesterday.
He was responding to papers filed by Oakbay Investments in a legal battle in which Gordhan is seeking a court ruling on whether he can be forced by the Guptas to intervene in the closure of their bank accounts by South Africa’s major banks. Gordhan said he did not believe there was any “bona fide” opposition to his application for a declaratory order confirming that he could not intervene in a dispute between Oakbay Investments and the four banks.
“It is supported by the banks, the Registrar of Banks, the Reserve Bank and [the Financial Intelligence Centre],” he said.
Gordhan said the Gupta-owned company had sought to use a “concise application” as a springboard to salvage its commercial and other interests and filed extensive papers, yet did not address affidavits filed by the banks.
Oakbay Investments’ acting CE Ronica Ragavan accused Gordhan of using the courts to fight political battles. She accused him of instructing “captains of industry” to “clip the wings” of the Gupta family. Oakbay has asked the court to dismiss Gordhan’s application.
But, in a response to Ragavan’s affidavit, Gordhan said: “In truth, what stands revealed as the real plot is the systematic and highly organised campaign by the Gupta family and its associates against the national Treasury, myself and other targets.”
In papers filed in October, Gordhan revealed explosive details about “suspicious” bank transactions by Gupta-owned companies totalling almost R6.8-billion, which might have contributed to four banks closing their accounts.
Argument on the matter is set down for March 28.
– Additional reporting TMG Digital