The African National Congress (ANC) is yet to respond to testimony at the state capture inquiry that its senior leaders summoned Standard Bank bosses to explain why the financial institution decided to close Gupta-linked accounts at the height of state capture allegations against the family.
Head of compliance for Standard Bank, Ian Sinton, told the commission on Monday how senior ANC members and two ministers tried to pressure the bank to keep the accounts open.
Sinton also testified that former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant went as far as saying the bank should break the law in order to pay the salaries of those who worked for Gupta-owned companies.
Sinton says they were also called to the ANC’s headquarters shortly after making the decision to close the accounts in 2016.
Sinton says the ANC meeting attended by Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte and others focused on the bank’s decision to close the Gupta’s bank accounts. But, he says they were also asked about the perception that the bank was part of so-called white monopoly capital to oppress black business, which upset his CEO, Sim Tshabalala.
Sinton says the next meeting attended by Zwane and Oliphant followed a similar line of questioning, but Zwane was more blatant about the powers that he had.
“They [how senior ANC members] said they had the power to change the law, and they would consider making changes to the law to make it illegal for banks.”
Sinton says the ministers also reminded them that banks operate under a license granted by the government.
Representatives from FNB and Absa are expected to give evidence on Tuesday.