FNB dumps Guptas' Oakbay Investments

Johannesburg - Oakbay Investments, a company controlled by the Gupta family, said FirstRand’s First National Bank unit closed its company accounts.

This was about three months after Barclays Africa Group’s Absa unit did the same.

“We find the timing of FNB’s decision staggering given Oakbay’s accounts are in excellent financial health and we have been a loyal and profitable customer for many years,” Oakbay Investments, a holding company that controls Oakbay Resources, said in a statement.

“In December 2015, we also received a similar notification from Absa Bank with no explanation. Interestingly, this remained confidential for over three months until a couple of days ago. We question the timing of Absa making this public.”

It added that the group is moving its banking operations to another institution.

Fin24 exposed the first revelation of corporations cutting ties with Gupta-owned firm on Friday, after publishing an internal staff letter by KPMG Southern Africa CEO Trevor Hoole.

On Tuesday Oakbay stated that is in the process of finding a new auditor and sponsor after KPMG and Sasfin Capital resigned as the respective service providers.

Oakbay said KPMG’s resignation occurred with immediate effect on 29 March, while the termination by Sasfin Capital would take effect from 1 June 2016 after receiving notification on 15 March.

At the time of Oakbay’s listing on the JSE in November 2014, Absa was Oakbay’s banker. However, an Absa spokesperson told City Press last week: “Absa Bank can confirm that we have no relationship with Oakbay Resources.”

The flight of corporate service providers comes as the Guptas' alleged business connection with and influence of President Jacob Zuma has resulted in calls of Zuma's recall, as well as an investigation into the Guptas' business activities.

The Guptas own Oakbay Investments, which is a shareholder in a number of private equity investments and joint ventures, such as Sahara Computers, JIC Mining Services, Shiva Uranium, The New Age newspaper, ANN7 TV and Clifftop Lodge.

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