Gupta-owned Oakbay Resources has appointed SizweNtsalubaGobodo as its new auditor, the company said in a statement released on SENS on Thursday morning.
SizweNtsalubaGobodo replaces KPMG, which resigned last month citing concerns that a continued relationship with Oakbay would poses reputational risk to the firm.
Oakbay’s JSE sponsor Sasfin also resigned, but cited a strategic repositioning as the reason for the decision.
Since then, several South African banks have disclosed that they have closed bank accounts linked to several Gupta companies, including those of listed group Oakbay Resources. The banks include Absa, Standard Bank, Nedbank and First National Bank.
The Banking Association of South Africa said in a statement that the banks’ decisions were guided by their obligation to adhere to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica) – which aims to combat, amongst other things, money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The banks have however not offered any reasons for their decision to cut ties with Oakbay and other Gupta businesses, citing confidentiality agreements with clients.
It has been speculated that the Guptas have since acquired the services of the Indian banking group Bank of Baroda.
The decisions of the financial firms to sever ties with the Gupta family’s businesses followed startling allegations that the Gupta family has unsavoury ties with the president and influenced the decision to sack finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and appoint Des van Rooyen late last year.
In response to this, the Gupta brothers Atul and Varun, as well as President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma, resigned as directors from Oakbay Resources and Energy and Shiva Uranium respectively.
The Gupta family has since reportedly left South African shores, although Oakbay denies that the family has emigrated. The family remains the largest shareholder of Oakbay.
SizweNtsalubaGobodo is the fifth-largest auditing firm in South Africa.
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