The decision by four major banks — Nedbank‚ Standard Bank‚ First National Bank (FNB) and Absa — to stop doing business with the Gupta family is suspicious‚ and that is why the banks need to be investigated‚ President Jacob Zuma said in Parliament on Wednesday.
“The action looks suspicious … the banks did not say what are the [wrongs] that these companies have done. Up to now we do not know [what they did wrong]. Just to stand willy-nilly and close accounts does not look innocent. That’s the problem we have‚” said Zuma in response to a question from an MP.
Zuma has been under fire for his relationship with the controversial Gupta family. Former public protector Thuli Madonsela raised concerns over his relationship with the family in her contentious State of Capture report‚ released in November.
Earlier in the year‚ the country’s four major banks ceased doing business with the Gupta-owned Oakbay‚ amid allegations that the family was using its relationship with Zuma to secure business and other favours.
Professional services firm KPMG was the first major company to sever ties with the influential family‚ citing reputational concerns‚ followed by the banks and Oakbay’s JSE sponsor‚ Sasfin.