CAPE TOWN - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) today won an interim interdict against the Bank of Baroda, freezing R1.75 billion in the Gupta-owned Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines rehabilitation trust fund accounts.
This comes after OUTA's contention that the Gupta's are mismanaging state funds.
The interim interdict follows the dismissal of the Gupta's application which attempted to stop the Bank of Baroda from closing their accounts.
OUTA then filed for an interdict in the Pretoria High Court against the Bank of Baroda, believed to be the last bank in the country which have maintained accounts for the Gupta's.
“This is another sweet victory for South Africa, with the prevention of Gupta mining trust accounts worth at least R1.75 billion from leaving our shores or being plundered by the Guptas,” says Ben Theron, OUTA’s Chief Operating Officer.
“But the fight is far from over as we want to ensure that the Gupta family and those responsible for state capture are held accountable".
Notably, mine rehabilitation funds cannot be used for purposes other than managing the environmental damage caused by mining activities.
This is according to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and the National Environmental Management Act.
However, the Gupta's are believed to have contravened this Act.
“The trustees of the Gupta-linked mining rehabilitation funds allegedly mismanaged the funds, allowing the controversial family to use the trusts to pay back loans. Pending the final outcome of the interdict, we will pursue these individuals and hold them accountable for their misconduct,” says Theron.
OUTA was then granted an interim order which stipulated that the trustees or those with signing powers are interdicted "from directly or indirectly dealing in any way with, disposing of or removing from the Republic of South Africa any of the funds or assets of the Trust including but not limited to the Trust's funds held in any account of or at the Bank of Baroda", says Theron.
Despite the matter being postponed to December, 7, OUTA appealed to Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane and the South African Reserve Bank to secure these funds.
This appeal was followed with no response.
Subsequently, the application was brought forward in the Pretoria High Court on September 21, hours after the Gupta's lost an urgent application to interdict the Bank of Baroda from closing their bank accounts.
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