More dirt on Dudu and ail­ing SAA

Former chair Myeni has been ac­cused of hav­ing scup­pered a $1 bil­lion Emi­rates deal.

The Citizen (KZN) - - Front Page - Ber­nade e Wicks – bernadet­[email protected]

Or­gan­i­sa­tion Un­do­ing Tax Abuse and pi­lots’ body want her de­clared delin­quent di­rec­tor.

The High Court in Pre­to­ria has heard how former South African Air­ways (SAA) chair Dudu Myeni played hooky from a high-pro­file meet­ing with “two of the most im­por­tant per­sons in the civil avi­a­tion world on a global ba­sis”.

SAA’s former chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Syl­vain Bosc yes­ter­day took the stand in Myeni’s delin­quent di­rec­tor case.

Bosc, a French na­tional, was sus­pended from his po­si­tion in 2015 fol­low­ing a foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion by law firm ENSafrica, which found he had mis­led the board and Trea­sury. He was sub­ject to a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing and the fol­low­ing year found not guilty.

Former chief ex­ec­u­tive Nico Bezuiden­hout last week tes­ti­fied that Myeni had told him to sus­pend Bosc be­cause there were “too many French peo­ple” in the com­pany.

Bosc’s ev­i­dence in court yes­ter­day kicked off with more de­tails about the now in­fa­mous Emi­rates air­line deal.

In 2015, Emi­rates pro­posed a lu­cra­tive deal which would have boosted SAA’s con­nec­tiv­ity and pro­vided the now bank­rupt air­line with an an­nual rev­enue guar­an­tee of $100 mil­lion (R1.477 bil­lion).

Myeni has been ac­cused of hav­ing scup­pered the deal at the 11th hour.

Bosc yes­ter­day told the court that af­ter SAA re­ceived Emi­rates’

pro­posal, Myeni re­quested a meet­ing with her coun­ter­part at Emi­rates, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Mak­toum.

He and Bezuiden­hout duly ar­ranged the meet­ing, with Emi­rates chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Clark to be in at­ten­dance too.

“It’s not very easy to have them both ded­i­cate a full day of their time to any sub­ject so we were very, very ex­cited,” Bosc said.

The day be­fore they were due to travel to Dubai for the meet­ing, Myeni pulled out.

“The act­ing CEO called me in and told me: ‘We have a prob­lem. The chair­per­son does not want to go and she wants us to say she’s sick and there­fore she can­not make it,’” Bosc said.

He de­scribed this “a big set­back and an em­bar­rass­ment”.

Of the deal, Bosc said: “It was go­ing to be very good for SAA to be seen in the eyes of the whole world as the part­ner to Emi­rates. That was a chance for SAA to be as­so­ci­ated with one of the sin­gle-most pow­er­ful brands in the world.”

Myeni served as the chair of SAA’s board for five years, dur­ing which time the state car­rier suf­fered mas­sive fi­nan­cial losses.

The Or­gan­i­sa­tion Un­do­ing Tax Abuse (Outa) and the SAA Pi­lots’ As­so­ci­a­tion (Saapa) are ask­ing the court to de­clare Myeni a delin­quent di­rec­tor.

If they suc­ceed, Myeni will be barred from sit­ting on any boards for at least seven years.

The lawyers act­ing for Outa and Saapa have sug­gested they will be ask­ing the court to in­sti­tute a life­long ban in Myeni’s case.

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