South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court is expected to rule on Monday whether India’s Bank of Baroda can close the accounts of 20 companies belonging to the controversial Gupta family.
The Indian-based financial institution plans to cut ties with Gupta-linked companies, joining the ranks of several firms – including South Africa’s four biggest banks — that are distancing themselves from a scandal involving business associates of South African President Jacob Zuma.
South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog has accused the Gupta family of using their close relationship with Zuma to influence political decisions and win business. Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing and the Guptas have not been charged with any crime.
Bank of Baroda was due to close the Gupta-owned companies’ bank accounts on September 29 following a ruling made by Judge Hans Fabricius.
The companies, which include the Oakbay Group, pleaded with the court on the eve of the closing of the bank accounts, asking for them to stay open until December at least, when they will then challenge the bank’s decision to close the accounts.
Judge Tati Makgoka allowed Oakbay to keep their accounts open ahead of his judgment and ordered the Bank of Baroda to keep the bank accounts open and operational pending the outcome of his order due today.
- African News Agency, Editing by Mel Cheary