FORMER Old Mutual chief executive Peter Moyo was back in court yesterday in his bid for reinstatement and damages following his dismissal twice from the insurance and investment group in 2019 for alleged conflict of interest.
His claim for reinstatement and damages is being heard in the Gauteng High Court.
Moyo was fired in June 2019 for allegedly pocketing dividend payments of R30.6 million linked to an investment firm he co-founded, NMT Capital, in which Old Mutual has a 20 percent stake, which it acquired in 2005 as part of a black economic empowerment deal. Moyo chaired an NMT meeting in 2018 where he declared a R105m ordinary dividend and allegedly paid himself dividends, but Old Mutual’s preference share dividends were not paid.
Moyo and his partners thus shared R84m, while omitting to pay preference share dividends, valued at R65.4m at the time.
This, said Old Mutual, was a violation of the shareholders’ agreement, the preference share subscription agreement and Moyo’s employment contract. Old Mutual’s board also engaged Moyo for months about the matter.
Prior High Court decisions, including his appeal before a Full Bench, found Old Mutual acted lawfully in its dismissal of Moyo.
“We will show in our defence… we do not believe he has a legal basis for claiming any amount whatsoever. The claim of R250m is after an employment tenure of only 18 months,” Old Mutual said in a statement on yesterday.
Moyo could not be reached for further comment on the case.
A full bench decision in January 2020 in Old Mutual’s favour found it had acted in a legal way in terminating Moyo’s contract.
The Supreme Court of Appeal subsequently dismissed Moyo’s appeal against that decision.
On March 17, 2020, Old Mutual also successfully opposed an urgent application by Moyo in which he attempted to interdict the company from appointing a permanent chief executive.
A hearing to have the Old Mutual non-executive directors declared delinquent and to have them declared in contempt of court took place on November last year before the South Gauteng High Court, and this decision was pending.
Moyo’s legal team, advocate Dali Mpofu and advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, previously argued that Old Mutual’s refusal to allow Moyo back into his office after the court ruled he should be temporarily reinstated, was in contempt of court and deserved punishment comparable to what was meted out to former president Jacob Zuma.
Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail for contempt of court last year.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE