Nazeem Howa stepped down as CEO of Oakbay Investments, a Johannesburg-based holding company owned by the Gupta family, on Monday citing health reasons.
The announcement came four days after finance minister Pravin Gordhan filed an affidavit in the high court implicating the Guptas and companies they control in 72 “suspicious transactions” totalling R6,8bn.
President Jacob Zuma is a friend of the family and his son, Duduzane, has business ties with them.
The Gupta family has also been investigated by the nation’s graft ombudsman over allegedly wielding undue influence on the government. Both Zuma and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.
“After a period of illness, Mr Howa has stepped down from his duties at Oakbay due to health issues and medical advice,” Oakbay said in a statement on Monday. Ronica Ragavan, the company’s financial director, will act in the role as a replacement is sought.
Howa, who in 2010 joined the company that owns mining, technology and media businesses, has been the most visible executive of Oakbay to respond to criticism of its business dealings.
He also resigned as a nonexecutive director of Johannesburg-listed Oakbay Resources and Energy.
Former Oakbay Resources CEO Varun Gupta and nonexecutive chairman Atul Gupta resigned from all group companies in April, following what the company described as a “sustained political attack”. Duduzane Zuma also resigned as nonexecutive director of major subsidiary Shiva Uranium at the time.
Howa said in August that the Guptas had received “cruel and harsh” treatment in South Africa, after the family announced they planned to sell their local businesses. — (c) 2016 Bloomberg LP