Guptas: Pravin Gordhan is ‘playing politics’

Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan is “playing politics” in an effort to “damage the Gupta family’s hard-earned South African business”, a PR company for the Gupta family said in a press release on Friday morning.

Based on an affidavit by the Guptas’ Oakbay Investments still to be filed by late afternoon, the press release highlights eight facts seemingly contained in the affidavit.

Oakbay will file their affidavit in reply to Gordhan asking the courts to declare his powers to intervene in the private relationship between banks and their clients.

The Guptas’ PR Company accuse Gordhan and the Financial Intelligence Centre of badmouthing the family in public, erring in law and fact, unlawful conduct and a political ploy to derail their local business.

The PR Company’s understanding of the legal papers yet to be filed further seems to contradict letters from the former Oakbay chief executive Nazeem Howa. Once the Mail & Guardian have received the filed papers, this story will be updated.

The press release states that “Oakbay has never suggested that the Minister is required to intervene in the bank-customer relationship … the minister could simply have declined to do anything in the exercise of his legal discretion”.

Apart from this being a contradictory statement in itself, it is refuted by a letter Howa sent to Gordhan on April 17 2016.

Howa kicks off his letter, one in a series of letters to Gordhan, by saying he offers his “deepest apology and regret if our letter to you came across in any way other than a heartfelt appeal for assistance to save the 7 500 jobs within our group following the decision by financial institutions to cut ties with us … it was never our intention to come across with any other message other than a plea to you as political head for the financial sector to assist us in avoiding this huge impact…”

Gordhan also declined several times, sighting legal reasons, to intervene with the decision by South African banks to blacklist Gupta companies.

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