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Gupta-linked funds in Bank of Baroda should not leave SA: Outa

13 February 2018 - 08:28 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
A file photo of Wayne Duvenage.
A file photo of Wayne Duvenage.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lisa Hnatowicz

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has called on the SA Reserve Bank to ensure that Gupta-linked funds in the Bank of Baroda are not moved offshore.

The SA Reserve Bank has confirmed that the Bank of Baroda is closing down its operations in South Africa.

“Outa believes public and business pressure was brought to bear against the Bank of Baroda for its continued services to the controversial Guptas‚” said Outa chief executive Wayne Duvenage.

“The Bank of Baroda has come under increasing public scrutiny over its continued links with the Guptas‚ who now have very limited banking options left in South Africa.”

In October last year‚ the High Court in Pretoria ordered the Bank of Baroda to keep the accounts of Gupta-linked companies open. Judge Tati Makgoka granted an interdict against the bank‚ prohibiting the lender from deactivating or closing the banking accounts of the Gupta businesses‚ or from terminating the banker-customer relationship.

The matter pertains to an application the companies made against the Indian-based bank. Baroda wanted to join four major banks in South Africa – Absa‚ Standard Bank‚ Nedbank and FNB – in closing Gupta-linked accounts. The Bank of China also closed Gupta-linked accounts.

In September‚ Outa got an interim order freezing the rehab funds for the Gupta mines which are held in the Bank of Baroda. The Guptas ar opposing this action.

The matter is due to be heard in court in May for a final order.

“Due to Outa’s action freezing the rehab funds‚ the Bank of Baroda will need court approval to move those funds to another bank‚” Duvenage said.

“Outa’s legal team will be making contact with the South African Reserve Bank to ensure that the rehab funds do not go missing and that the Guptas are not able to use the Bank’s closure to move those or the funds in their other accounts out of the country.”