Despite the movement of huge funds, which would normally raise red flags in financial institutions, Standard Bank failed to detect the rationale behind regular large transfers of money from Gupta-linked letterbox company Homix to other business entities, the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture heard yesterday.
In wrapping up his testimony before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) exchange control expert Elijah Mazibuko told of how the Guptas used Homix to gain access to millions of rands in kickbacks – which became part of the Sarb’s investigation into accounts of the shell company between 2014 and 2015, when more than R500 million was moved.
Mazibuko said while the company’s Standard Bank account was inactive until March 2014, there was a sudden increase in activity when it received large amounts totalling R660 million.
He said Homix’s bank account reflected regular large money transfers to Ballatore Brands of R24,311,950 and to an unidentified entity – raising questions on why Standard Bank would allow a transaction where a payment was made without explanation.
Mazibuko said because banks usually monitor accounts if there is a sudden flurry of activity from unrelated traders, it should have raised “some eyebrows”.
According to Mazibuko, Homix was used by the Guptas to fund other business interests – among them Regiments Capital, which was paid R179 million between March 2014 and May 2015.
He said it was “quite surprising” that the amount credited into the accounts of Homix was equal to the money out between March 2014 to April 2015.
Confirming a widely held suspicion being investigated by the commission that law enforcement agencies were captured under the Jacob Zuma administration, Mazibuko said the SA Police Service failed to update the Sarb in 2015 on its investigation into the Homix banking transactions.
To illustrate the money flow between Homix and other companies, Elijah Mazibuko said that on:
- February 5, 2015, R5,966,588.43 was transferred from Regiments to Homix and on the same day R596,658.84 was transferred from Regiments to Albatime – a company owned by Kubentheran Moodley, former advisor to former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane;
- November 14, 2014, R13,786,874.94 was transferred from Regiments to Homix, after which R1,378,687.50 was transferred to Albatime;
- June 27, 2014, R1,824,000 was credited to the Homix account;
- June 30, 2014, R1,805,940.58 was transferred to Bapu Trading;
- April 2014, an amount of R34,533,519.88 was transferred from Neotel to Homix, after which all the money was depleted by means of electronic transfer to Ballatore Brands and Bapu Trading.