Mysterious anonymous investors from Limpopo, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as one of Botswana’s richest politicians, are allegedly all separately poised to spend hundreds of millions of rands to save and take control of the controversial Habib Overseas Bank.

Habib is the same bank the Gupta family, through proxies, sought to take control of in 2016 when the family was losing access to all the major local financial institutions.

It has also been the subject of an amaBhungane exposé revealing large-scale money laundering.

It notes that these new alleged bids are being endorsed by a group of accountholders claiming to represent almost a quarter of the deposits left in the crippled bank. 

In the process, they have temporarily blocked the SA Reserve Bank’s attempt to liquidate Habib and potentially hunt down misappropriated monies.

The interested parties include Satar Dada, a Botswanan magnate, and Durban businessman Barlow Govender, who claims to have the informal support of the Public Investment Corporation.

The key figure in the profusion of (potential) bids is Yunus Paruk, the marketing manager of Al Baraka Bank in SA.

In court papers, the depositor group claims that Paruk became a go-between for the various interested parties.

One of them is allegedly an anonymous suitor from Dubai represented by ‘deal maker’ Anwar Khan, who runs a ‘boutique advisory firm’ called Adsum Capital Management in the UAE.

Paruk was also the point of contact for the Botswanan Dada.

According to the court papers, the two are partners in a property business. 

This case is running in parallel to the group’s opposition to the Prudential Authority’s attempt to liquidate Habib.

amaBhungane notes that the Prudential Authority claims that even if there were a serious buyer, the due diligence and transfer process would take months and lead to the worsening of the bank’s finances, with no guarantee it would not be liquidated anyway.

Full amaBhungane report on the Daily Maverick site