South Africa: Where is Optimum’s R1.3 Billion Mine Rehab Money? – AmaBhungane

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Suspicion Over Billion Rand Transfer to Indian Bank
 
ANALYSIS
 
pravingordhanOne of the “suspicious and unusual” transactions identified in the Financial Intelligence Centre’s (FIC) report attached to Gordhan’s affidavit is a transfer of R1.3-billion allegedly removed from the Optimum Mine rehabilitation trust. By Susan Comrie, Stefaans Brümmer and Sam Sole for AMABHUNGANE.
 
Tegeta Exploration and Resources, owned by the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma, agreed to buy Optimum Coal Mine in November last year.
 
It remains a controversial deal, beset by allegations of political interference, specifically because Mosebenzi Zwane, the Gupta-linked mining minister, accompanied Tegeta to Switzerland, allegedly to negotiate the deal with then-owners Glencore – a claim he denies.
 
As part of the R2.1 billion deal, Tegeta inherited a R1.5-billion trust set aside in terms of legislation to fund the environmental clean up when Optimum is mined out in about 2030.
 
However, Gordhan was alarmed that the department of mineral resources provided “written approval” to allow R1.3 billion from the environmental trust fund “to be transferred from the account closed by Standard Bank to the Bank of Baroda”.
 
south-africa-lets-glencore-resume-operations-at-optimum-coal-mineThe Bank of Baroda, a state-owned Indian bank with a small presence in South Africa, has long been bankers to the Gupta family and unlike other banks have not closed their accounts….