How the Guptas stripped Optimum of R3bn

Image: Thulani Mbele

Over two years the Gupta family‚ through its network of companies‚ “stripped” its largest mining asset of at least R3-billion in cash from profits‚ with the money allegedly being spirited out of the country almost as soon as it was paid.

According to business rescue practitioners there is “no evidence” that roughly R3-billion in profits were recapitalised back into the mine‚ while essential mining equipment fell into disrepair and critical protective clothing for mineworkers ran out.

Joint business rescue practitioner Louis Klopper revealed to Times Select that when he was appointed to oversee the business rescue of eight Gupta companies in February‚ he arrived to find that Optimum had little to no funds in its bank account.

According to Klopper the mine itself is in such disrepair that it would cost roughly R400-million to get it fully operational again. This includes fixing machinery and mining equipment.