National 9.9.2016 07:01 am

Oakbay ‘wants bank inquiry’

CEO of Oakbay Investments Nazeem Howa gives his remarks during the Gupta family linked company's release of its maiden annual results held at the JSE in Sandton, 08 September 2016. Picture: Refilwe Modise

CEO of Oakbay Investments Nazeem Howa gives his remarks during the Gupta family linked company's release of its maiden annual results held at the JSE in Sandton, 08 September 2016. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The CEO of the Gupta-controlled company says the inquiry will give detractors an opportunity to expose what the family is hiding.

Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa has appealed to government to establish a judicial inquiry into why the group’s businesses were cut off from major financial institutions earlier this year.

READ MORE: Surprising the Guptas’ pockets aren’t national key point – Maimane

During the presentation of its maiden financial results at the JSE yesterday, Howa and a panel of directors from each of the group’s companies seemed to open up about Oakbay’s financial difficulties since the group was snubbed by the banks.

Referring to Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s controverial statement claiming Cabinet would move to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into the banking sector, Howa said he supported the idea.

“I was as surprised as everybody else when I saw the statement. But upon reflection, I think it’s a good thing.

“Because then our detractors will have every single opportunity to tell the (judiciary commission) what we are hiding.”

Earlier during the session he had lamented the financial difficulty the company was under because of their lack of access to South African financial services, saying the group relied on an international bank which cost the company dearly.

“It has impacted on our business heavily, it’s impacted on our mining contracts, but we have managed to keep the business running despite these hurdles.”

Howa added that the group wanted out of its contracts with Eskom, but was essentially stuck with the utility due to the nature of its contracts.

“If I put all three contracts together we actually make a loss on investment. We actually make a loss on all three. But maybe you can help me, perhaps you can go to Eskom and say please take all three contracts away from me. If you can convince Eskom to do that I’d be very happy.”

READ MORE: ‘I stand here as an uncaptured individual’

His comments come as the group’s contracts with Eskom are under investigation by National Treasury. Treasury has been evaluating documents and responses provided by Eskom last week on its coal contracts with Gupta-linked Tegeta Exploration and Resources, in preparation for a final report.

– simnikiweh@citizen.co.za

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