First National Bank has taken measures to sever financial ties with the Gupta-owned business Oakbay Investments, becoming the second company in as many weeks to do so.
KPMG took similar steps last week while Absa discontinued its service in December last year. The news comes in an official statement from Oakbay Investments, in which it is “demanding an explanation” from the bank.
“Oakbay Investments demands an explanation from Mr Jacques Celliers, the Head of First National Bank (‘FNB’), for the closing of the Company’s accounts. Oakbay has received no reason whatsoever justifying FNB’s action,” a media statement reads.
The company has received a notice from FNB that the bank plans on closing all of its accounts. The reason for the closures haven’t been made known.
“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. In December 2015, we also received a similar notification from Absa Bank with no explanation,” the statement read.
“Interestingly, this remained confidential for over three months until a couple of days ago. We question the timing of Absa making this public.”
Oakbay has accused all three institutions of playing a political game.
“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. 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.
The money needs to go somewhere, and the company is looking elsewhere to stash its cash.
“We are already in the process of moving our accounts to a more enlightened institution.”
The press statement is a relatively unusual move from Oakbay; both it and the Guptas have been noticeably quiet about their public reputations since this year’s State Of The Nation address in Parliament in which EFF leader Julius Malema coined the now popular #zuptasmustfall. It claims the size of Oakbay’s investments over the last 23 years in South Africa (R10bn) and that only 1% of its business is with the SA government.