Court freezes R1.75 billion in rehab funds from Gupta-owned mines

Court freezes R1.75 billion in rehab funds from Gupta-owned mines

The North Gauteng High Court granted an urgent interdict to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) to have R1.75 billion in mine rehabilitation funds from two Gupta-owned mines frozen.

OUTA’s application went unopposed and will see the funds which are set aside for managing environmental damaged caused by mining frozen by The Bank of Baroda.

Oakbay Investments (which is owned by the Gupta family) lost an urgent application to stop the Bank of Baroda from closing the bank accounts of 20 companies which fall under the Oakbay Investments umbrella.

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The ruling left the Bank of Baroda free to close the accounts at the end of September. The institution said that it had filed a multitude of financial irregularity reports with the financial intelligence centre with regards to suspicious transactions in the Gupta accounts.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) announced on Tuesday that it would seek to meet with banks and other institutions in an attempt to prevent a job-loss bloodbath. Oakbay Investments and the other companies will not have any means to pay its estimated 7000 employees once the Bank of Baroda closes their accounts.

Briefly.co.za learned from Thesouthafrican.com that the ruling led to lead uncertainty about what would happen with the rehabilitation fund and this compelled OUTA to action.

In a statement, the civil actions organisation said that the court order compelled the Bank of Baroda to continue to hold the funds in an interest-bearing account.

The funds which are allocated to the rehabilitation trust funds of Optimum and Kraaifontein mines will remain in the names of the trust but the court order has barred trustees of the funds to directly or indirectly deal with the funds in any way.

The order also specifically notes that the funds may not be removed from South Africa.

The interdict is in effect until 7 December 2017 when the court will hear arguments as to what should happen to the funds and what jurisdiction it has in the movement of the funds.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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