Gordhan’s affidavit is flawed - Guptas

Johannesburg - The Gupta-owned Oakbay says Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s affidavit is flawed, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The wire service is reporting this days after Gordhan published an affidavit alleging that R6.8 billion rand ($491 million) in payments made by Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta and companies they control and other individuals with the same surname have been reported to authorities as suspicious since 2012.

Anul Gupta. Picture: Cara Viereckl. Credit: Independent Newspapers

Reuters did not provide further details.

However, the Guptas' lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, was quoted on Radio 702 on Tuesday morning as saying that he would respond in full to each of the 70-odd transactions highlighted by Gordhan.

Read also: Zuma vs Gordhan: SA ‘in a dark place’

Van der Merwe also explained there was, in terms of the law, a difference between reportable transactions and those that are suspicious.

Gordhan’s affidavit exposes several allegedly dubious transactions reported to the Financial Intelligence Centre by the banks, which total R6.8 billion.

Gordhan’s affidavit also alleged that Gupta-owned Oakbay was seeking to harm the banking and financial sectors when it asked him to interfere in the private sector.

That news came three weeks before Gordhan is due to appear before court on charges of fraud over allegations that he illegally authorised an early retirement and established an illicit investigative unit when he headed the South African Revenue Service. This has been viewed as a continuation of the tussle between President Jacob Zuma and Gordhan over control of SA’s finances, which is coming to a head.

Read also: 'Guptas tried to harm banking sector' - Gordhan

The 13-page affidavit, released to the public by the National Treasury on Sunday, cites 14 Gupta-controlled companies - including Oakbay Investments, Oakbay Resources, Tegeta Exploration & Resources and Sahara Computers. It also cites the big four banks, which earlier this year closed accounts belonging to companies linked to the controversial Guptas.

Gordhan has approached the North Gauteng High Court, asking for an order that the Finance Ministry cannot, by law, intervene when banks close companies’ accounts.

This comes after several heads of Gupta-owned companies, claiming that thousands of jobs would be lost, approached Gordhan at various times seeking his intervention.

We'll have you covered for all the relevant budget news on the big day; pick up a copy of Business Report on October 27 for analysis and insight.