NEWS
21/04/2018 11:28 SAST | Updated 21/04/2018 11:30 SAST

Court's Green Light For Outa In Gupta-Linked Optimum Case 'A Significant Victory'

A significant victory for public interest litigation, believes OUTA.

An entrance to the Optimum Kwagga coal mine owned by Glencore is seen near Hendrina in Mpumalanga province, September 8 2015.REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
An entrance to the Optimum Kwagga coal mine owned by Glencore is seen near Hendrina in Mpumalanga province, September 8 2015.REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

An application by the trustees of the Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines objecting to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) being heard in a reconsideration application against the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) was dismissed by the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday, according to OUTA.

Stefanie Fick, OUTA's head of legal, regards this dismissal as a significant victory for public interest litigation. This is because the judge exercised his constitutional right to develop the common law and allow OUTA to be heard, despite the civil action organisation not being named as a party in this AFU case.

READ: How The Guptas Bought Optimum Coal, With Help From Eskom's Ngubane And Molefe

Fick said in a statement that the court proceedings reaffirm OUTA's position in SA as a civil action group that operates in the best interest of the people.

"What sets OUTA apart is the meticulous manner in which our legal team conducts their business. Their in-depth knowledge of the law and of the cases we take on give us the ability to use our supporter funds effectively, efficiently and in the best interest of the people," said Fick.

Last year, OUTA brought an application to prevent Gupta-linked trustees from getting their hands on nearly R1.7bn in rehabilitation funds.

In March this year the AFU brought an urgent preservation order, which OUTA said caused some confusion as to what should happen to the funds.

The three parties met on Thursday and agreed that the AFU preservation order would be postponed and heard alongside OUTA's case due at the end of May this year.

Recovering Eskom funds

Fin24 reported earlier that Eskom has approached the court in a bid to recover funds from global consultancy McKinsey, and is looking into ways of recovering money from Gupta-linked company Trillian.

The power utility is trying to get a total of R1.3bn from the two companies.

The state-owned enterprise wants to recover the funds which were paid out for consultancy work after they were found to be irregular.

McKinsey said earlier that it hoped that, together with the AFU and Eskom, it can work to resolve the legal process necessary to reach a speedy conclusion to this matter.

McKinsey is under the impression that the AFU's preservation order is still in operation.

-- Fin24