THE BLOG

Pravin Gordhan's Campaign Will Not Stop The Truth Coming Out

Gordhan's application is riddled with flaws and inaccuracies and there is no contested legal issue. Oakbay has never said that he is required to intervene.

28/03/2017 06:59 SAST | Updated 28/03/2017 06:59 SAST
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Oakbay Investments acting CEO Ronica Ragavan.

On Tuesday 28th March, the campaign against Oakbay reaches a significant milestone. Legal arguments will begin to be heard for and against the Finance Minister's application around the closure of our bank accounts.

But no matter the outcome, we continue to stand ready to open ourselves up to whatever scrutiny is required to prove our innocence.

Pravin Gordhan is seeking a declaration from the Court that he is not legally obliged to intervene in Oakbay's relationship with the big four banks (Absa, Nedbank, FNB and Standard Bank). We agree that he is not.

The Minister's application is entirely pointless except to generate yet more unsubstantiated negative media coverage about our business and current shareholders.

We believe that the sole purpose of the Minister's application is to generate negative media coverage of Oakbay around 72 'suspicious transaction reports' which have been used to justify retrospectively the closure of our accounts by the banks.

His application is riddled with flaws and inaccuracies and there is no contested legal issue here. Oakbay has never insisted that he is required to intervene. However we have called on him for assistance, as we have called upon many other ministers and government officials. We are doing everything we can to protect the jobs of our more than 7,500 employees which continue to be at risk while we do not have access to local banking services.

For this reason, the application should be dismissed.

We believe that the sole purpose of the Minister's application is to generate negative media coverage of Oakbay around 72 'suspicious transaction reports' which have been used to justify retrospectively the closure of our accounts by the banks.

Without more information about these transactions we cannot even identify them in our books and records. Nor could Nardello, the international forensic investigative firm. We have called upon the Minister, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), and anyone with the power and authority to release the information that we need so that we can prove our innocence.

Why won't this information be released? Because we know that all of the transactions are legitimate and above board and it will exonerate us. This does not suit the Minister's strategic play book. He is orchestrating a campaign of false allegations about our business and our shareholders, the Gupta family, to discredit President Zuma as part of his political agenda and that of monopoly capital.

It is in the banks' interest to discredit the President and derail any efforts to transform the economy and introduce new competition to the banking sector.

The banks are happy to go along with the plan and have acted in collusion, and not for the first time (in February it was reported that the Competition Commission had found evidence that Absa and Standard Bank had been colluding as part of a seventeen-strong "criminal gang" to artificially set the price of the Rand).

It is in the banks' interest to discredit the President and derail any efforts to transform the economy and introduce new competition to the banking sector.

Almost in unison our accounts were closed by the banks with no justification. Months later, the 72 'suspicious transaction reports' were used to explain the decision. But just a few days ago Kuben Naidoo, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, said publicly that the law does not allow banks to close accounts simply on the basis of suspicions. Looks like collusion to us.

You have to ask yourself why we aren't allowed to prove our innocence.