Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan

Pretoria – Oakbay Investments wants the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria to strike out a certificate issued by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) referring to 72 transactions involving the Guptas and companies affiliated to them.

The family says these transactions are irrelevant to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's court application. Gordhan lodged a court bid last year over the Gupta family's approach to him to intervene when several SA banks closed their businesses' accounts.

The FIC investigated certain of the bank transactions involving the Guptas and flagged 72 transactions as being suspicious.

This, among others, involve a R1.3 billion transaction.

Advocate Cedric Puckrin said this certificate has nothing to do with these court proceedings.

But Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, on behalf of Gordhan, said the fact that there were 72 suspicious transactions involving billions was of the uttermost importance. He said, while it may not have anything to do with the main application, the minister had a duty to bring this under the court's attention via his founding affidavit.

The three judges hearing the matter questioned Gauntlett as to why the FIC certificate was relevant. 

Judge President Mlambo commented that it " may have opened a can of worms," but he said he could not see what it had to do with the main application before the court.

It appeared that Gordhan asked the FIC to investigate the financial transactions of the Guptas and related companies a few months after he issued his legal bid for a declaratory order that he cannot interfere with the decision of the country's major banks that they no longer wanted to do business with the Guptas.

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"He asked for it [an investigation into the Gupta's financial transactions] and he got an answer. Now he has to play open cards with the court," Gauntlett said in defending the offending passage in Gordhan's affidavit.

He said the minister was concerned about the transactions as they were irregular and it could have a grave implications for the country's economy.

Gauntlett meanwhile also asked that Oakbay strike certain parts from their court papers, where it states that Gordhan has a political motive for launching the main application. Gauntlett said certain utterings made about the minister in the papers were vexatious and had nothing to do with the application.

Puckrin agreed to omit these passages from his arguments and said he hoped the Gordhan camp would be as gracious to do the same regarding his striking out application.

Puckrin said if the Gordhan camp agreed not to refer to the FIC certificate during legal arguments, it would significantly shortern the court proceedings.

The judges stood down for a while to deliberate on a number of preliminary issued presented to them during the morning.

It is expected that arguments in the main application will resume on Tuesday afternoon.

Pretoria News