Not too late for Gordhan/Oakbay to settle – Mlambo

(File: Netwerk24 and AFP)
(File: Netwerk24 and AFP)

Pretoria – It’s not too late for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Oakbay to settle, the North Gauteng High Court heard on Tuesday.

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo will meet the legal counsel of the different respondents which includes 14 companies owned by the Guptas, National Treasury, the Reserve Bank governor, the FIC director, the registrar of Banks, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Absa and FNB.

Mlambo made a ruling on the strike out applications by Oakbay, Gordhan and Sahara computers before adjourning court proceedings into the case where Gordhan is seeking protection from intervening in the banks' decision to close the bank accounts of Oakbay.

Sahara computers filed an application to dispute the authority of the state attorney representing the finance minister. Mlambo said that Sahara had failed to show cause for the late application as well as merit. The application was dismissed on those grounds.

READ: Gupta-owned Sahara files papers over Gordhan attorney

The application was filed on Monday, a day before the matter in which Gordhan was seeking relief to intervene with the banks.

Treasury explained on Saturday that Gordhan was not required to attend court as only his legal representative was needed.

Mlambo granted the application by Oakbay to have Mcebisi Jonas’affidavit struck out, as well as a paragraph on the FIC certificate in Gordahn’s affidavit.

READ: Mcebisi Jonas takes on Ajay Gupta over Saxonwold meeting

Jonas’ affidavit is in relation to state capture, when he was offered the position of finance minister by the Gupta’s at a meeting at their house in Saxonwold.

Oakbay’s counsel, Advocate C Puckrin said: “The case is not about state capture. This case has nothing to do with Mr Jonas.”

FIC certificate not proof of suspicious transactions

During the proceedings Puckrin argued that the FIC certificate shedding light of 72 suspicious transactions, filed part Gordhan’s affidavit, bore no relevance to the case. “Without the certificate, relief can be granted,” he said.

He also said that the certificate does not serve as proof that the transactions were suspicious.

Mlambo went on to ask Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, representing Treasury to explain the relevance of the certificate.

Gauntlett explained that Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were pressured to intervene with the banks. Subsequently he went on a “search” taking different regulatory avenues. One of which was the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) which he wrote to.

Subsequently the 72 suspicious transactions were revealed. “It is a matter with implications for the economy and the banking system,” he said.

Gauntlett added that Gordhan sought relief from the courts to show the seriousness of the matter and that it was not a “flash in the pan”.

“We are not asking you to draw inferences from the certificate. We want you to note that there are 72 transactions,” he said.

Gauntlett explained that the certificate added to the concreteness of the matter at hand.

Puckrin in turn explained that it was important to determine what was relevant to the case and that which was was not. He indicated that Gordhan’s counsel themselves said that the FIC certificate was not necessary in granting the relief the minister seeks.

Mlambo also granted the strike out application by Gordhan to do away with Oakbay’s allegations that Gordhan’s application to the courts is part of a political conspiracy as well as the challenge of separation of powers.

Costs reserved till the end of the matter, Mlambo said.

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