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Gordhan can't use Gupta deals to advance his case

Companies

Pretoria – The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Tuesday, in a preliminary application, ruled that mention made in the minister’s court papers of 72 suspicious transactions involving the Gupta family and their companies, had to be “striken out” of the papers.

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Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, lawyer for South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan (not pictured), gestures during a court hearing in Pretoria, South Africa

This mean that the Gordhan camp cannot use the report issued by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) in advancing their main application.

Counsel for Oakbay Investments, Cedric Puckrin SC, on Tuesday morning asked that references to the FIC report must be removed, as it had nothing to do with the main application.

Gordhan only asked the FIC to investigate the Gupta related accounts months after he launched his application for a declaratory order that he cannot interfere with the decision of the country’s four major banks not to do business with the Guptas and their companies.

But Gordhan’s advocate, Jeremy Gauntlett SC, in opposing the striking out application, said the FIC findings showed the magnitude of this matter. According to the FIC report the suspicious transactions flagged by them, involve billions of rands.

Gauntlett said it was the minister’s duty to bring this under the attention of the court.

But three judges who are hearing the matter, all questioned the relevance of the report.

Judge President Mlambo said Oakbay’s application to have the report strike out, has merit.

Read also: Zuma wants out of Gordhan-Gupta fray

Legal experts are of the opinion that by removing references of the report from the main application, would take the sting out of Gordhan’s application.

It is said that the various parties did not dispute that the minister should not interfere with the decision by the banks not to do business with the Guptas and their companies - the very order he is asking for.

Gordhan meanwhile also scored a small victory when the court ruled that references made in Oakbay’s papers of a political conspiracy by Gordhan and others relating to this matter, should be strike out.

President Jacob Zuma meanwhile elected not to apply to join the proceedings as an interested party - a move Judge Mlambo commented was wise.

Judge Mlambo, shortly before the lunch break, requested the legal representatives to see him and the two other judges in chambers before the case was due to resume.

He also urged the parties to see whether they could not settle the main application.

PRETORIA NEWS ONLINE

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