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FIC certificate not proof transactions are suspicious - Oakbay

Mar 28 2017 13:52
Lameez Omarjee

Pretoria – The FIC certificate shedding light of 72 suspicious transactions filed as part of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s affidavit in the matter against Oakbay bears no relevance to the case.

This is according to Oakbay’s legal counsel, Advocate C Puckrin, speaking during court proceedings at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday. He said that the certificate does not serve as proof that the transactions were suspicious.

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"Without the certificate, relief can be granted," he said.

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo asked Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, representing Treasury to explain the relevance of the certificates.

Gauntlett went on to explain 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.

On the transactions, Puckrin said that when banks close accounts money must be taken out, no matter how large the transaction. "The R1.4bn had to go somewhere."

The bench has adjourned to deliberate on the matter.

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