FINANCE Minister Pravin Gordhan has revealed how Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa requested a meeting with him in May to ask that Gordhan intervene in the company’s dispute with a number of banks that had decided to sever their banking relationship with it and its associated companies.
In a reply to a written parliamentary question by DA MP David Maynier, Gordhan said he had advised Howa that it was best that Oakbay take its dispute to the court, “if it has nothing to hide to correct any misperceptions that any bank may have about it, and to ensure it is being treated fairly”.
The minister’s conclusion was that he was “unable to assist Oakbay in any way. I am advised that to do so would be legally impermissible. The best course of action would be for the company to approach a competent court so that it can establish the rights which it contends it has, rather than via a political or public media campaign. This will also allow banks to provide any reasons without transgressing their confidentiality obligations.”
In his reply Gordhan said he, Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile and three other Treasury officials — including legal counsel — met Howa and a member of Oakbay’s finance department on May 24 at Treasury’s offices in Pretoria.
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