National Treasury has taken Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments to task for raising issues relating to the court application involving Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and the four major banks in the media and has called on the company to respect court processes.
Gordhan has approached the High Court in Pretoria for a declaratory order confirming that he cannot intervene in a dispute between Oakbay Investments and the banks.
The banks have until Friday to indicate whether they will oppose Gordhan’s application on their decision to close down the company’s accounts.
Treasury on Friday said it had no intention of conducting the case in the “court of public opinion” and would provide comprehensive and appropriate responses in court once Oakbay had filed their answering affidavits.
“It is peculiar in the extreme for the aforementioned respondents to address the issues raised in the affidavit by way of media releases as these make no meaningful contribution to the case at hand.
“The minister has presented his case under oath in an appropriate forum and it is incumbent upon the Oakbay respondents to do likewise should they wish to oppose his version‚” Treasury said.
It had noted the “numerous attacks” launched by Oakbay’s lawyers Van der Merwe Associates (VDMA) on the affidavit filed by Treasury.
The lawyers wrote a letter to Gordhan calling on him to withdraw the matter and pay costs. Gordhan has declined to do this.
In the letter‚ VDMA‚ on behalf of Oakbay‚ accused the minister of wasting taxpayers’ money on the application. “VDMA note that to spend taxpayers’ money in a ‘reckless and inappropriate manner’ would constitute a contravention of the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act No 1 of 1999‚ which would warrant ‘further action against those officials responsible for same’‚” the company said.
It said the purpose of VDMA’s letter and offer to Gordhan was to offer him the “opportunity to save taxpayers’ money”.
Oakbay has said it will oppose the application‚ after Gordhan refused to withdraw it.
“We welcome the announcement by Oakbay respondents that they intend to oppose the application after their unsuccessful attempt to coerce the minister into withdrawing the matter‚” said Treasury.
“This will provide an opportunity for all issues to be properly ventilated in an open court.”