Leading financial services companies in the country have ended their business ties with the controversial Guptas’ Oakbay Investments and its listed entity Oakbay Resources. The controversial family has come under attacks over the last few months for allegations ranging from ‘corruption to state capture’.
First National Bank joined ABSA, Sasfin and auditing firm, KPMG, in severing ties with the company. The family enjoys close relations with embattled South African President, Jacob Zuma.
KPMG ended its auditing services to Oakbay Resources on the 29 March and Sasfin Capital will withdraw as Oakbay Resources’s sponsor from 1 June 2016.
According to a statement from the JSE, its “listings requirements prescribe that companies must appoint a sponsor within 30 business days after the effective resignation of a sponsor. Listed companies need the services of an auditor when they issue their annual financial statement once per annum and in certain cases for interim and provisional financial statements. Companies must ensure that they have an appointed accredited auditor to perform these function at the relevant times.
“Oakbay has indicated that it is in the process of identifying a new auditor and sponsor”.
The Guptas’ Oakbay says it is questioning the logic behind the closing of its FNB accounts.
“Oakbay has received no reason whatsoever justifying FNB’s actions. We are already in the process of moving our accounts to a more enlightened institution,” said the company in a statement.
“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.”
FNB Risk's Nainesh Desai said "First National Bank ("FNB") can confirm that it has no banking account with Oakbay Investments (Pty) Ltd.
"We can further confirm that we have given notice to close various banking accounts of entities that may be associated with Oakbay Investments (Pty) Ltd.
"Due to the confidential nature of our customer relationships, FNB is not in a position to provide any further details."
Last December, the Guptas' company received a notification of termination of their accounts from Absa Bank.
“Interestingly, this remained confidential for over three months until a couple of days ago. We question the timing of Absa making this public,” added the company.
The Guptas see recent actions by FNB as part of a political clampdown on the family.
“These latest incidents are clear proof that the recent allegations against the company and the wider Gupta family are all part of a carefully orchestrated political campaign, which, tragically, involves some of the country’s most senior institutions and individuals,” said Oakbay.
"It is very disappointing that FNB (and Absa) have allowed themselves to be dragged into the political in-fighting by the campaign’s orchestrators," it said in an emailed statement.