The Guptas vs SA banks: Oakbay Investments accounts 'closed' at FNB

APRIL 6, 2016

Oakbay Investments, which is owned by the controversial family, the Gupta's, on Wednesday demanded an explanation from Jacques Celliers, the Head of First National Bank (FNB), after the bank apparently closed the company’s accounts. 

"Oakbay has received no reason whatsoever justifying FNB’s actions," the company said in a statement.

"We are already in the process of moving our accounts to a more enlightened institution.

"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. Interestingly, this remained confidential for over three months until a couple of days ago. We question the timing of Absa making this public."

It said that 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.

"We challenge the purveyors of the numerous false allegations made against us in recent months to provide any evidence of wrongdoing. It is time to put up, or shut up," read the statement.

"South Africa is currently facing extreme economic challenges and Oakbay has consistently been a successful job creator and tax payer for the benefit of South Africa and its citizens. This success has clearly upset some of the establishment.

"Sadly, those who are against us want to resort to any means necessary including slanderous, unfounded innuendo. They talk about state capture when only 1% of our business is from Government. That is an inconvenient truth for our detractors, but truth it is, as our fully audited financial results show."

Oakbay Investments said that its business success in South Africa over the last 23 years (not 6 years as some mistakenly believe) has been based on taking a long-term perspective and a ‘challenger’ philosophy.

"This means expanding into tomorrow’s growth industries today, and operating in established industries in a more efficient manner than our peers. We welcome competition and enjoy it. We demand an explanation from Jacques Celliers."