Motala sues for R150m in lost pay

For­mer liq­uida­tor launches dam­ages claim against depart­ment of jus­tice and deputy mas­ter of the high court

CityPress - - News - SU­SAN COM­RIE su­san.com­rie@city­press.co.za

Con­tentious for­mer liq­uida­tor En­ver Motala may fi­nally get his day in court, but when he does, he’ll have to ex­plain a trail of al­legedly forged emails, as well as his con­vic­tion on 92 counts of fraud. Motala was banned from prac­tis­ing as a liq­uida­tor in 2011, in part for his role in hand­ing two East Rand gold mines to Khu­lubuse Zuma and Zondwa Man­dela’s Aurora Em­pow­er­ment Sys­tems.

Motala has al­ways claimed that he was the vic­tim of a well-or­ches­trated con­spir­acy that he al­leges has cost him R50 mil­lion a year in lost in­come.

“This was a cal­cu­lated cam­paign against me,” Motala told City Press on Thurs­day. “There has been an at­tempt by peo­ple who were part of the en­tire con­spir­acy against me to tar­nish my im­age.”

In ad­di­tion to his ap­pli­ca­tion in the North Gaut­eng High Court in Pre­to­ria to be re­in­stated as a liq­uida­tor, he has also launched a dam­ages claim for R150 mil­lion against the depart­ment of jus­tice and the deputy mas­ter of the high court Chris­tene Ros­souw in her per­sonal ca­pac­ity.

But Motala says the fig­ure could rise to R250 mil­lion or more.

“The R150 mil­lion was only up to Septem­ber 2014. Ev­ery year, it in­creases by R50 mil­lion, un­til the case is heard,” he said.

The mas­ter’s of­fice is de­fend­ing both court ac­tions and has re­peat­edly stressed in court pa­pers that the de­ci­sion to re­move Motala was jus­ti­fied and fol­lowed all proper pro­ce­dures.

Motala’s ap­pli­ca­tion, which has dragged on since 2011, is sched­uled to fi­nally be heard this year, but if he is go­ing to per­suade the court to re­in­stated him as a liq­uida­tor he’ll need to an­swer some dif­fi­cult ques­tions about Aurora and his past.

De­pend­ing on who you speak to, Motala’s me­te­oric rise from small­time sugar mer­chant and cash-and­carry store owner to one of the coun­try’s most pow­er­ful liq­uida­tors is ei­ther a shin­ing suc­cess story, or a re­sult of his political con­nec­tions. Se­cret R3m loan

One of the cen­tral pieces of ev­i­dence that led to Motala’s re­moval was a se­cret R3 mil­lion loan he made to Aurora. In an af­fi­davit sub­mit­ted to the court last year as part of his ap­pli­ca­tion for re­in­state­ment, he said there was a point at which he knew that if he didn’t help the com­pany, the takeover deal would col­lapse and the gold mines along with it.

This was in Jan­uary 2010, and Zuma and Man­dela’s min­ing com­pany had barely been in charge of the mines for a month, but des­per­ately needed bridg­ing fi­nance to pay salaries and ba­sic costs.

Motala claims that with the urg­ing of the ma­jor cred­i­tor – Hy­poVere­ins­bank (HVB) in Ger­many – he dipped into his own pocket and gave Aurora a R3 mil­lion loan.

Ac­cord­ing to the mas­ter’s of­fice, the se­cret loan per­pet­u­ated the false im­pres­sion that Aurora could af­ford to pay for the mines. They also ar­gue that while work­ers went with­out salaries, Motala had his loan promptly re­paid.

Yet Motala in­sists his de­ci­sion to lend Aurora the money was done purely to pro­tect its 5 500 work­ers.

“[Frank] Biburger [from HVB] asked me whether I would be amenable to as­sist­ing Aurora with a loan,” Motala stated in his af­fi­davit. “I un­der­stood the se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions if the salaries and wages of the em­ploy­ees con­tin­ued to be un­paid. As Biburger put it to me, if the em­ploy­ees em­barked on strike ac­tion, Aurora would be forced to exit the deal … I was mo­ti­vated to help be­cause I had sym­pa­thy for the work­ers en­gaged by Aurora to per­form the care and main­te­nance and who were in peril of not be­ing paid.”

The prob­lem is, Biburger in­sists this con­ver­sa­tion never hap­pened.

In a sup­port­ing af­fi­davit filed last week, Biburger, HVB’s head of min­ing and me­tals, stated that he had “no knowl­edge of the loan of R3 mil­lion be­tween Motala and Aurora”, and “was never ap­proached con­cern­ing such a loan”. Al­legedly faked emails

To sup­port his claim about HVB’s in­volve­ment in the R3 mil­lion loan, Motala at­tached two emails be­tween Aurora con­sul­tant Fazel Bhana and Biburger in which the loan was dis­cussed. Motala says in his af­fi­davit that he re­ceived th­ese emails from Bhana. But Biburger al­leges that the emails sub­mit­ted by Motala are fake. In both cases, the time stamps and sub­ject line ex­actly match emails that he ex­changed with Bhana, but the con­tent of the emails are com­pletely dif­fer­ent ( visit city­press.co.za to com­pare the emails). Bhana did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment this week. On Thurs­day, Motala would only say: “I don’t want to get into the mer­its of the mat­ter be­cause it’s sub ju­dice.” Credit card fraud The de­ci­sion to re­move Motala from the coun­try­wide panel of liq­uida­tors in 2011 stems not only from his deal­ings with Aurora, but also from the rev­e­la­tion that he was con­victed of 92 counts of credit card fraud in 1978 when he was 25 years old and known as En­ver Dawood. Motala ini­tially de­nied any con­nec­tion to Dawood or his crim­i­nal record, but later claimed that he was un­der the mis­taken im­pres­sion that his con­vic­tion would have au­to­mat­i­cally lapsed af­ter 10 years. In 2012, as part of his fight to be re­in­stated, Motala ap­plied for a pres­i­den­tial par­don, claim­ing that he took the rap for his un­cle, Yusuf Pa­tel, who in 1978 was an ANC ac­tivist and was plan­ning to flee the coun­try.

“Un­be­known to me at the time, he had re­ceived a credit card in the mail, it hav­ing been sent to the wrong ad­dress, and he pro­ceeded to make small with­drawals with the card,” Motala wrote in his 2012 ap­pli­ca­tion.

When po­lice tracked Motala down in 1978 – af­ter his car was spot­ted by a con­cerned bank man­ager – Motala said he ad­mit­ted to the crime in or­der to pro­tect his un­cle.

“I im­me­di­ately told the po­lice of­fi­cials that I was re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing the with­drawals against the credit card ... In so do­ing, I en­sured that no fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion was done into the mat­ter and that Pa­tel would be able to make good his es­cape … I urge the Honourable State Pres­i­dent to have re­gard for the fact that I took the blame in the in­ter­est of the gen­eral good and un­selfishly,” he stated in his 2012 ap­pli­ca­tion.

Pa­tel has since died and can­not con­firm Motala’s story but, as part of his ap­pli­ca­tion, Motala sub­mit­ted let­ters of sup­port from both Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela and the ANC’s head of se­cu­rity, Ti­tus Maleka, in which they both de­scribed him as “a per­son of in­tegrity, ded­i­ca­tion, com­mit­ment and high moral stand­ing”.

Motala’s ap­pli­ca­tion was granted in 2013, and his crim­i­nal record was wiped clean. He ar­gues in court pa­pers that this clears the way for him to be reap­pointed to the coun­try­wide panel of liq­uida­tors.

In court pa­pers filed last week, the mas­ter’s of­fice made it clear they would op­pose any at­tempt by Motala to be re­in­stated as a liq­uida­tor.

Zondwa Man­dela

En­ver Motala

Khu­lubuse Zuma

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