Cor­po­rate SA turns back on Gup­tas

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — Three South African com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing KPMG and Bar­clays Africa, have sev­ered ties with a firm owned by the Gup­tas, a fam­ily of In­dian-born busi­ness­men, due to con­cerns over their re­la­tion­ship with Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

The third was in­vest­ment bank Sas­fin, which said it had de­cided to cut links with Gupta min­ing firm Oak­bay Re­sources and Energy in March, two days af­ter a news­pa­per sug­gested they may have had a hand in Zuma’s sack­ing of fi­nance min­is­ter Nh­lanhla Nene in De­cem­ber.

Sas­fin’s re­la­tion­ship with Oak­bay will for­mally end on June 1, a Sas­fin spokes­woman said. The de­ci­sion had not pre­vi­ously been made pub­lic.

Zuma has de­nied nu­mer­ous al­le­ga­tions of the Gup­tas wield­ing un­due in­flu­ence. The Gup­tas have also rou­tinely dis­missed re­ports of their in­flu­ence, say­ing they are pawns in a po­lit­i­cal plot to get Zuma out of of­fice.

Af­ter the news­pa­per re­port last month, Deputy Fi­nance Min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas said the Gup­tas had of­fered him the top job at the Trea­sury be­fore Zuma fired Nene. The Gup­tas also de­nied that al­le­ga­tion.

In an email to KPMG staff seen by Reuters, lo­cal chief ex­ec­u­tive Trevor Hoole said he had de­cided to stop au­dit­ing Oak­bay af­ter con­sult­ing reg­u­la­tors, clients and KPMG’S in­ter­nal risk de­part­ments.

“I can as­sure you that this de­ci­sion was not taken lightly but in our view the as­so­ci­a­tion risk is too great for us to con­tinue,” Hoole said in the email.

“There will clearly be fi­nan­cial and po­ten­tially other con­se­quences to this, but we view them as jus­ti­fi­able.”

Oak­bay con­firmed the end of the 15-year re­la­tion­ship and said it un-

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