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Moyo drags Rothschild’s Kingston into Old Mutual battle

Axed CEO might subpoena Kingston to submit an affidavit about Trevor Manuel’s ‘triple conflict of interest’.

Ahead of Peter Moyo’s appearance in court on Tuesday in his efforts to be reinstated as Old Mutual CEO and have his axing declared unlawful, he has dragged the executive chairman of Rothschild & Co Martin Kingston into his messy battle against the insurer.

Until now, Moyo – who was suspended on May 23 on the grounds of “a material breakdown in the relationship of trust and confidence” and was dismissed on June 18 – has aimed his lawsuit at Old Mutual and its board chair Trevor Manuel.

Read: It’s Moyo versus Manuel as Old Mutual drama escalates

Moyo says the insurer fired him without following proper disciplinary processes. He has also accused Manuel of having a “triple conflict of interest” in overseeing Old Mutual’s separation of the South African business from its UK operations.

This was because Manuel was chair of Old Mutual Group SA, Old Mutual plc and advisory firm Rothschild & Co during the insurer’s managed separation, which saw it move its primary listing from the London Stock Exchange to the JSE in 2018.

Moyo alleged that a proposal to transfer a R5 billion contingent liability from Old Mutual plc to what is known today as Old Mutual Limited – a key aspect of the managed separation – was at the heart of Manuel’s conflict of interest.

Rothschild stood to gain, and did

Rothschild & Co was one of the advisors on the managed separation and “stood to gain [and eventually did gain] hundreds of millions of rands in fees”. Moyo believes that Manuel should have recused himself from the managed separation transaction.

In his supplementary affidavit to the high court on Monday, Moyo said he raised his concerns about Manuel’s alleged conflict of interest with Rothschild’s Kingston on a particular Sunday at Old Mutual’s offices in Sandton, Johannesburg.

During this discussion, Moyo told Kingston that Manuel should not participate in discussions about the R5 billion contingent liability given his alleged “triple conflict of interest”.

“Mr Kingston, like Mr Manuel, held a different view. I suspect that it was Mr Kingston who precognised Mr Manuel about my stance,” said Moyo in his court papers.

Moyo subsequently raised his concerns with Manuel and escalated the matter to the Old Mutual board’s corporate governance and nomination committee. “All hell broke loose,” said Moyo, who added that his relationship with Manuel became adversarial.

Moyo said he will secure an affidavit from Kingston to corroborate his version of events. If necessary, Moyo will “ensure” that Kingston is subpoenaed. Kingston was not immediately available to comment when Moneyweb reached out to him. 

Old Mutual’s version

In its affidavit that responds to Moyo’s court bid, Old Mutual said it finds his allegations “astonishing” because Moyo – while he was CEO – was “fully aware” that all concerns regarding Manuel’s potential conflicts of interest were “carefully considered through proper governance structures”. The insurer said Moyo was involved in board processes that approved and supported the R5 billion contingent liability.

Old Mutual said Manuel’s relationship with Rothschild began before he joined the insurer’s board. And Rothschild’s mandate to advise Old Mutual on the managed separation process “predated the board chair [Manuel] joining the Old Mutual board”.

Moyo’s lawsuit will be heard by the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday. He wants to be temporarily reinstated as CEO and is claiming damages. In a bold move, he also wants the court to declare Old Mutual’s non-executive directors and Manuel delinquent.

Moyo was fired over a conflict of interest involving dividends that were paid by his investment holding firm NMT Capital.

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Ray , where are the links to the affidavits?

I am no longer expert in SA Application procedures but this does not make sense to me:
– This is an Urgent application
– Decided on paper – affidavits
– No oral evidence (unless a court orders it when dispute of facts too great)
– No subpoena for witnesses

Anyway – looking forward to this fight – I have been interested in how Manuel managed his conflicts – but seems with ANC connected guy, all is possible in SA

“ Might” or “will” subpeona Kingston? There’s a big difference between these two actions. If he has the evidence of wrongdoing that will support his case, he must use it. Otherwise shut up and leave the stage ( with the golden handshake I’m sure is in place)

Bluster and bluff no longer cuts it and cannot be used to excuse mismanagement and incompetence. The sooner we rid our economy of racist BEE policies, the sooner we can get back to business.

What is happening in this court, is just another shakedown ….

What facts do you have to support your claim of a “shakedown”?

Is this typical of the calibre of SA’s Top Management, that Moyo, right or wrong, can even think that after reinstatement he will be able to run this Company effectively and succesfully after all the damage that him and Manuel have created!? That people at this level don’t understand reputation, staff morale,teamwork, etc, etc!? It’s a joke, that every day we have to read about this and other types of useless behaviour by the CEO’s of Public companies, the so called custodian’s of our pensions and investments!! And to think that they basically write their own paychecks as well with none or very little downside!!

I’m losing faith so quickly now in the JSE that the Banks interest is looking good, for what that’s worth!!

Quite a farce this merry go round. Now if Moyo had not been fired, what would he have done? Simply gone ahead with this, as he calls it, delinquent misgovernance? Carry on, collect his pay, his bonuses and share options. I bet he would have. Just like those thieves in government, the corporate thieves appear no different. As long as they all stand to gain to the detriment of shareholders, they will support each other. As long a S the boxes have been ticked. The auditors, the legal advisers etc will stretch the rule interpretation to ensure they remain appointed. After so many corporate scandals and government corruption who,can one trust? No option but to be sceptical about the whole bunch. Man’s natural greed wins again.

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