Gupta brothers, Ajay and Atul. Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments has until March 25 to oppose a liquidation application lodged at the High Court in Johannesburg. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG – Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments has until March 25 to oppose a liquidation application lodged at the High Court in Johannesburg over a R2.4 million debt by Tegeta Exploration and Resources.

Tegeta in its papers claims the debt comprises back rent for office space, telephones, stationery and kitchen facilities.

Joint business practitioner Kurt Knoop said in the affidavit that Tegeta wanted Oakbay to be winded up on the basis that Oakbay was unable to pay its debts.

“The respondent (Oakbay) is in breach of the agreement in that the respondent failed to effect payment of the monthly rentals due to the applicant,” Knoop said.

Tegeta claims that Oakbay owes it rental for the period from June 2018 to last month.

“To date, the respondent has failed or refused to pay the amounts demanded in terms of the notices.”

Tegeta is one of seven Gupta companies placed under business rescue in February last year.

The scandal-tainted Oakbay could not be reached to comment on whether it would be opposing the application.

Tegeta came into the public limelight in 2015 when it controversially bought one of South Africa’s biggest coal mines, Optimum, from global mining giant Glencore.

The deal later became a sharp focus of the state capture project.

Details from the explosive National Treasury forensic report into Eskom revealed the pivotal role played by erstwhile acting chief executive Matshela Koko and his management team in strong-arming Glencore to sell the Optimum coal mine business to Tegeta.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has further taken Tegeta and Eskom to court over a R3.7 billion coal contract.

According to SIU’s papers, the coal contract is still in effect and is expected to end in 2025 and wants it declared “unlawful and invalid”. 

Oakbay, in a desperate ditch to save Tegeta in 2017, sold the firm to little-known Swiss-based Charles King in a deal worth R2.9bn.

Oakbay’s demise unfolded in 2017 when South Africa’s top five banks and its previous auditors, KPMG, cut ties with the firm.

BUSINESS REPORT