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Was Gordhan playing open cards, or did he open a can of worms?

Mar 28 2017 11:19
Matthew le Cordeur

Pretoria - Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court Dunstan Mlambo questioned whether Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan opened a can of worms by adding 72 suspicious transactions contained in the FIC certificate he attached to his court papers against the Guptas.

In response attorney Jeremy Gauntlett, representing Gordhan, said he was “playing open cards” with the court by revealing what he discovered when he asked the FIC whether Gupta-owned companies had any suspicious transactions.

This followed executives requesting Gordhan countless times for assistance in reopening their bank accounts with Standard Bank, Absa, Nedbank and FNB.

“Gordhan opened a … can worms, because the FIC certificate with regard to the goings-on of the Oakbay Group has nothing to do with it,” said Mlambo.

Responding, Gauntlett said Gordhan used legitimate avenues to ask the FIC what it had in relation to a matter in “which he has been constantly badgered”.

“They responded with the 72 suspicious transactions,” he said. “He is entitled to ask, but whether he needed it is debatable. But now that he has this response, he is playing open cards with the court.”

Mlambo pointed out that an audit by a consultant for Oakbay found that only 15 transactions were suspicious.

Gauntlett responded: “The minister is not saying that each one of these is a suspicious transaction,” adding that he was simply reporting what the FIC director had provided him with.

Oakbay wants the certificate struck from the proceedings, while Gordhan’s legal team wants the matter to be dismissed or the decision deferred.



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