Bank of Baroda (BoB) has denied allegations by British Labour Party politician Peter Hain that the bank facilitated corruption in South Africa under the rule of former President Jacob Zuma.
Hain told an inquiry panel last week that HSBC, Standard Chartered and BoB were directly culpable in looting South Africa treasury under Zuma, who resigned in February 2018 after several allegations of corruption during his nine-year administration. “The operations of BoB in South Africa were governed and conducted in accordance with the regulations and guidelines of the South African Reserve Bank and Reserve Bank of India,” said BoB in a statement.
“We confirm that BoB South Africa has not indulged in any activity violating regulatory guidelines knowingly. Transactions were carried out in a professional and transparent manner and we are totally committed to comply with rules and regulations laid out by the governing bodies and regulators.”
Zuma has been accused of having a corrupt relationship with members of the India-born Gupta family and even letting them interfere in ministerial appointments.
Brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta — all in their 40s — had reportedly relocated to South Africa from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh during 1993, just as white minority rule was ending and the country was opening up to the rest of the world.
BoB said client confidentiality prohibits it from disclosing specific client-related information. “We would also like to state that the business dealings and transactions undertaken by the South African territory have been extensively examined by the regulator through external agencies and the reports thereon have been submitted to the regulators.”
The bank also continues to fully cooperate with the law enforcement agencies including State Capture Inquiry Commission, has responded and supported all enquiries by regulators, and provided full details as and when sought, it added.