Deloitte’s Abil ar­gu­ment is not go­ing to fly

CityPress - - Business - Ramoagi El­liot via email

Thanks for the ar­ti­cle headed Abil’s [African Bank In­vest­ment Lim­ited’s] BEE court pa­pers face chal­lenge (City Press, March 5 2017). I hope that you will con­tinue to in­form us about de­vel­op­ments in this case. I am, how­ever, sad­dened by the at­ti­tude and ar­gu­ment put for­ward by Deloitte in its de­fence. For au­di­tors to say they owe no le­gal duty to the marginalised BEE in­vestors, who for the greater part of the in­vest­ment pe­riod were locked in this scheme with no op­tion to sell their shares – peo­ple who used their hard-earned wages to par­tic­i­pate in this scheme with the hope that it would im­prove their fu­ture fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion – is in­deed sad, to say the least, and not in the spirit of ubuntu and eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment of blacks as en­vis­aged by the Con­sti­tu­tion.

This case is in­ter­est­ing for me as it will af­ford the court the op­por­tu­nity to scru­ti­nise in de­tail the so-called BEE deals, which some peo­ple view as the big­gest eco­nomic fraud in the post-apartheid era.

My sense, how­ever, with re­gard to this case is that Hlu­misa share­hold­ers have more than a fair chance of suc­cess if they pur­sue this case all the way up to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

Judges there seem to be broad in their in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the law and I sin­cerely be­lieve that Deloitte’s ar­gu­ment won’t fly in that court.

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