PRETORIA – Van der Merwe & Associates, lawyers for Oakbay Investments, submitted an affidavit to the High Court in Pretoria Friday in response to the October application by Pravin Gordhan, South Africa’s Minister of Finance. Update: Oakbay lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, has given a video interview on the explosive affidavit – see below.

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Gordhan’s application came after alleged pressure on him from the Gupta Family to overturn several South African banks’ decision to close accounts related to the Gupta family or any of its associated companies.

Gordhan had asked the court to rule that as Finance Minister he did not have that authority to influence the banks’ choice of clients.


According to a press statement distributed by APO today on behalf of Oakbay, highlights of the Oakbay Investments affidavit include:

  • a claim that the Minister’s application is “riddled with factual and legal errors”. Oakbay says Gordhan’s reliance on the list of 72 purported “suspicious transaction reports” is misplaced and his application is supported by a flawed analysis and a faulty factual record
  • Oakbay says it has never suggested that the Minister is required to intervene in the bank-customer relationship. Oakbay says: “There is no contested legal issue here and there is never any reason for the Minister to bring this application”
  • Oakbay says Gordhan could have simply “declined to do anything in the exercise of his legal discretion. Instead, he has asked the court to confirm that he does not have to do anything. The Minister has essentially asked the court to insert itself into the functioning of the executive branch. It would be bizarre if every empowered government official receiving a request for assistance or counsel, races to Court to seek a declaration that he/she does not have to act on the request”
  • Oakbay warns that if the Court were to countenance the Minister’s application for guidance, it would “open the floodgates for other weak-kneed political officials who are too scared to take positions on sensitive political and policy matters” and would make the judiciary a maker of political judgements. Oakbay insists this application is an “abuse of court and an effort to involve the independent judiciary to settle political scores”
  • Regarding the 72 “suspicious transaction reports” allegedly reported to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and highlighted in the certificate provided to the Minister by the FIC, the Affidavit says:
    • Oakbay has made every attempt and pursued every avenue open to it, to gain the information it needs to prove that each and every transaction is legitimate and above board
    • Nardello & Co, an international investigative firm, was engaged to review the 72 transactions. Nardello’s report concludes that there is not enough information about the 72 suspicious transaction reports to identify them in the books and records of Oakbay Group or the personal bank accounts of members of the Gupta family
    • Two-thirds of the allegedly suspicious transactions occurred after the time when the banks had already decided to terminate their relationship with Oakbay, according to Oakbay
    • Oakbay says the FIC’s release of this information to the Minister was unlawful in itself and concludes: “The Court should therefore decline to grant the relief sought by the Minister and dismiss the Minister’s application with costs”
  • Oakbay Groups says that in January 2016, during a meeting with 60 “captains of industry”, the Minister, according to their sources, elaborated on the Gupta family and said that steps must be taken “to clip the wings of this Family” as part of an alleged coordinated campaign orchestrated by the Minister, they claim
  • Oakbay claims that furthermore, the timing of the Minister’s application supports the Oakbay Group’s suspicions that the application is politically motivated and is part of the Minister’s ongoing plan to diminish the Oakbay Group and the Gupta family and to damage their hard-earned South African business.

The case will go to court on 28 March 2017.

Watch Video: Oakbay lawyer talks about the affidavit in response to Gordhan’s application

Meanwhile in other, but related news, a parody music video called Gupta’s Paradise has gone viral, now reaching over 24,000 views. The video was uploaded by N’kandla Staail but it’s not clear who the performers are.

The song – based on Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise – is sung as if by President Jacob Zuma and starts with: “As I cruise through the valley of the Saxonworld I take a look at my life full of riches and gold …” It references the close ties the South African president apparently shares with the Gupta Family.

Watch Gupta’s Paradise