Par­ties ready to take on Myeni in court

Cape Argus - - FRONT PAGE - BALD­WIN NDABA

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.

Dudu Myeni

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