Parties ready to take on Myeni in court
THE Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and the SAA Pilots’ Association (Saapa) insist they are ready to go on trial next year in their application to declare former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni a delinquent director.
This comes as the North Gauteng High Court yesterday dismissed Myeni’s application to strike out a plea she filed in June 2017.
Outa chief legal officer Stefanie Fick said: “We are delighted with the ruling. This means that we can go on trial in January.”
The court found that Myeni failed to give a reasonable explanation for her application to strike out a plea explanation she made in 2017.
In her application, Myeni claimed that she was not aware of the contents of the plea, saying her previous attorneys did not consult with her properly to explain the legal implications of it.
In delivering her judgment, Judge Ronel Tolmay relied heavily on the affidavit of Myeni’s former attorney, George van Niekerk.
In his affidavit, Van Niekerk gave the court detailed account of their consultation with Myeni saying they first met for consultation on May 25, 2017.
He said after that consultation they proceeded with drafting the plea. Van Niekerk told the court they forwarded the draft plea to Myeni and according to him, Myeni fully understood what was contained in the plea.
He also said some of the documents were sent to Myeni’s private attorney for any correction. Van Niekerk also said that they had a telephonic consultation with Myeni which also lasted for more than three hours which they had recorded.
He added that following series of consultation, they secured the services of a Senior Counsel who drafted the plea explanation. He said that plea explanation was forward to Myeni and her private attorney before filed his plea on June 19 in 2017.
“The application (Dudu Myeni) has failed to give a reasonable explanation to amend his plea. She wanted to strike out 11 admissions she made in her plea. I am satisfied with the evidence of her previous attorney. Her application cannot be granted,” Judge Tolmay ruled.
The court also lambasted Myeni for bringing her application more than a year after she filed the plea.
In her plea explanation, Myeni admitted that when the SAA board awarded BnP Capital to source funding of R15 billion for SAA it was unlawful and that BnP had by then lost its financial services provider licence.
In their papers, Outa and SAAPA argue that the SAA board’s appointment of BnP Capital in April 2016 as a transaction adviser to SAA was unlawful.
They also argue that the board’s decision in July 2016 to create and pay BnP a cancellation fee of R49.9m for the failed contract was irregular and unlawful.
They alleged that in June 2015, Myeni unlawfully intervened in a board-approved deal between SAA and Emirates airline to block it, claiming that former President Jacob Zuma had reservations about the deal and resulting in significant financial losses and reputational harm for SAA.