South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday he did not know whether a wealthy family with close ties to President Jacob Zuma was under investigation on allegations of illegally moving money out of the country.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance says it has written to the FIC requesting that it probe the Guptas, a family of Indian-born businessmen who have been criticised for wielding undue political influence over Zuma.
On Wednesday, Gordhan rejected opposition charges of state obfuscation over the matter.
"The director of the FIC (financial intelligence centre), as is the minister of finance, is prohibited by the current legislation from indicating and I don’t even know myself ... whether the FIC is investigating person X or person Y," Gordhan said in response to a question in parliament on whether the Guptas were being investigated.
"Nobody is obfuscating. Let me give you the assurance that we will do, and entities that report to me to the extent that I can manage that, will do what is required by the law without fear or favour," Gordhan said.
Several South African companies, including all four major banks, have cut links with companies associated with the Gupta family.
Zuma has acknowledged the Guptas are his friends, but denies the relationship is improper. The Guptas, whose wide range of business interests include media and mining, have denied the allegations and say they are pawns in a plot to oust Zuma.
Deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said in March the Guptas had influenced the December firing of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, a charge Zuma also denied.