Court: Gordhan's application for declaratory order unnecessary

Pravin Gordhan

The High Court in Pretoria has dismissed an application by former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan

BusinessLIVE reported earlier on Friday that the High Court in Pretoria had dismissed an application lodged by Gordhan‚ seeking a declaratory order that the finance minister could not intervene in the relationship between the banks and Oakbay.

Gordhan's court application revealed that the Financial Intelligence Centre flagged 72 transactions by the Guptas' business interests as suspect and saw him argue that the banks acted as they did because of the family's political exposure.

The court did not conversely find that the finance minister does have the power to intervene in such a matter, saying that it was not necessary to make a declaratory order on a law that already exists.

Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba said the Gupta's Oakbay Group conceded in its legal arguments to the legal position that the minister sought confirmed by way of a declaratory order.

South Africa's four major commercial banks from early previous year closed the accounts of Oakbay Investments, and various related companies, amid the political contestation around how the companies of the Gupta family were conducting their business in the country.

Their lawyers suggested Gordhan went to court to air the Gupta companies' dirty laundry, and protect South Africa's banks from scrutiny.

The minister was ordered to bear some of the costs of those involved in the case while Gupta-linked company Sahara Computers was ordered to pay some of the application's costs.

"It is not appropriate for a member of the National Executive to draw the judiciary into the exercise of his executive functions as evidenced in this application", the judgment read.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will not appeal the court's ruling.

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