Gupta firms turned away from Postbank

This story was updated at 15:20 on Tuesday:

Cape Town – Gupta-owned and linked companies were turned away from Postbank, after they requested opening a bank account with the South African Post Office’s (SAPO's) bank.

This was revealed in written Parliamentary papers on Tuesday.

"No member of the Gupta family approached the Postbank to open up an account," said Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele in an updated parliamentary response.

"An employee from JIC Limited approached the Postbank’s head of sales and customer care telephonically in August 2016 to open an account.

"The Postbank requested details of the company and financial statements. Upon receipt of this information, Postbank established that JIC Limited is part of the Oakbay Investments (Pty) Ltd.

"The Postbank responded that it did not have capabilities to service corporate accounts such as risk management, IT infrastructure for large volumes, corporate electronic banking, corporate products such as Forex, trade finance, corporate lending, etc.

"Currently the Postbank mainly services individuals, SMME’s and small scale NGOs.

"In 2017, a secretary of ANN7 called the Postbank with an intention to open a corporate account. Postbank responded that they were unable to do so at this stage for the same reasons as were presented in 2016."

In the earlier version of the response, the minister stated: “An employee of ANN7 in August 2017 approached SAPO requesting a meeting with the SAPO group chief executive officer to discuss the opening of a bank account for the company. SAPO indicated that Postbank was unable to open or service corporate accounts because it is purely a retail bank that only serves individuals.”

The Guptas had their company bank accounts blacklisted from South Africa’s banks in 2016 and were subsequently given notice by the Bank of Baroda that their account would also be closed in 2017.

However, a court ruled earlier in October that this bank had to keep the accounts open pending a final application.

The Guptas announced on August 21 that it had sold its ANN7 and New Age businesses to a firm owned by Mzwanele Manyi. It then announced on August 23 that it had sold Tegeta to a United Arab Emirates (UAE) businessman.

While South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority has yet to bring charges of corruption against the Guptas regarding allegations of state capture involving President Jacob Zuma, other international agencies are beginning their own probes.

This includes the US Federal Bureau of Investigations, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the UAE’s central bank.

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