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Peter Moyo puts new screws on Old Mutual’s board

Former CEO now wants its members declared in contempt of court as well as delinquent.
The insurance giant’s former CEO believes it is contemptible for Old Mutual to ‘willy-nilly ignore a court order’. Image: Moneyweb

Axed Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo has launched a new offensive in his battle against SA’s second-largest insurer.

This time, he wants the conduct of Old Mutual to be censured by a high court over its failure to comply with a judgment on July 30 that immediately reinstated him as CEO and blocked the insurer from taking steps to appoint his successor.

In what is now definitely a nasty battle between the two parties, Moyo has asked the high court in Johannesburg for an order to declare the conduct of Old Mutual and its board of directors to be in contempt of court. A contempt of court offence relates to being disobedient or disrespectful towards a court of law regarding its judgments/orders.

Read: Moyo wants the entire Old Mutual board to be purged

To recap, Moyo was reinstated to his top job by a high court judgment as it found that Old Mutual had not followed proper processes when it initially suspended him on May 23 and subsequently fired him on June 18.

Old Mutual is appealing the judgment, saying the appeal process means that the insurer doesn’t have to comply with the judgment.

In other words, Moyo cannot resume or return to his office at Old Mutual’s headquarters in Sandton until a court decides on its appeal.

In court papers dated August 12, Moyo states that the fact that he wasn’t allowed by Old Mutual to resume his duties means that the insurer is in contempt of a court judgment.

‘Self-help, anarchy’

“The Old Mutual board was not permitted to ignore and fail to implement a court order simply because it does not agree therewith or because it is uncomfortable with such implication,” said Moyo in court papers. “Such behaviour amounts to self-help, anarchy, and unlawfulness.”

He said Old Mutual’s conduct in opting to “willy-nilly ignore a court order” undermines the dignity of the court and contravenes section 167 (5) of the Constitution, which provides that “an order or decision by a court binds all persons to whom it applies”.

Moyo’s court papers are in response to Old Mutual’s court application to seek a declaratory order under section 18 of the Superior Courts Act regarding what should happen pending the hearing of the appeal. This is set to be heard on August 16 by the high court.

Moyo wants jail time for directors

If the high court finds members of Old Mutual’s board to be in contempt of court, they might face hefty fines or imprisonment. The latter is what Moyo is pushing for, adding that the board needs to show, within 30 days, why it should not be committed to imprisonment for six months or a period determined by the court.

This intensifies the relief that Moyo wants against Old Mutual board members. In a separate legal challenge, he wants them to be declared delinquent directors under Section 162 of the Companies Act, which would result in the entire Old Mutual board being purged. Moyo wants this delinquency order because he believes the board handled his sacking sloppily.

When Old Mutual initially suspended Moyo, it cited a breakdown of trust and confidence between both parties. The insurer later said there was a conflict of interest due to Moyo’s involvement with investment holding firm NMT Capital, which Moyo co-founded in 2002. Old Mutual is the only institutional shareholder in NMT, owning a 20% stake in the firm.

When Old Mutual eventually fired Moyo, it said he wrongly pocketed dividends worth about R30 million.

This while preference share dividends to Old Mutual were in arrears, which the insurer said was in breach of its rights as a shareholder.

“Old Mutual’s insistence on repeating its narrative that I am guilty of a conflict of interest in relation to my NMT shareholding, which is the source of the harm to my reputation and dignity and which was prima facie found by the [high] court to have been a smokescreen to hide the true reasons for my victimisation, is the single biggest evidence of their contempt for the finding of this court,” he said in court papers.

Peace proposal

Moyo is also vexed that Old Mutual board members have conducted media interviews since the judgment to reinstate him as CEO was issued.

“In every interview since the judgment, Old Mutual has insisted on painting itself as innocent and me as a violator of the principles of corporate governance, when the finding of the court is to the exact contrary. Continuing to heap blame on me is an act of wilful blindness to the prima facie findings of the court.”

In resolving the dispute, Moyo proposed that Old Mutual withdraw its declaratory order application, which would pave the way for the insurer to pursue its appeal of the high court judgment. The parties would then agree to an expedited court hearing, as soon as September 10, for an order to declare all board members delinquent. During this process, Moyo would not go back to work as he would take special leave with full remuneration benefits. However, he still wanted to be reinstated as CEO during this process.

Old Mutual rejected the proposal as it doesn’t want him back.



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Moyo must be reinstated.

The guy’s toxic – the Company doesn’t want him – why can’t he just go quietly into the night? What’s with this new trend that everytime someone gets fired they now tie the Courts up in endless litigation? SHould be thrown out.

The longer Old Mutual continues with their course of action the more embarrassing it will be. This is one fight that they will not win, they messed with the wrong marine.

Surely at CEO level you go when you are no longer wanted. Does this man have no dignity and no judgement? I guess not having read what he said about the late and great former mother of the nation

What about the board? That board is clearly incompetent they should also recuse themselves. At their level also they need to realise they messed up and shoukd recuse themselves

“Surely at CEO level you go when you are no longer wanted.” Is this based on law or…..what?

Actually, yes it is. Common law. The relationship is severed. Trust is difficult to rebuild in a severed relationship.

No-its called judgement. At CEO level you do not rely on legal processes to hang around. You have the common decency to go when you are unwanted. The man is a disgrace-he disgusts me!

Isn’t his dignity exactly why he is fighting this? He has effectively been painted as corrupt, taking payment that wasn’t due to him.

Not the point-as a CEO you do not stay if the Board says go-you pack your bags and go-fair process or not-in the US, Europe, Asia etc out means out

Nothing to do with dignity. He’s trying to maximize the golden handshake he wants from OM. This is just the way token appointees (like our own dear Squirrel) operate – add zero business value, but want rewards approaching infinity.

Peter, just get these guys. We want a new Old Mutual. They must all go.

Then do something about it -and do not chirp from the peanut gallery. Shareholders appoint the board!!

Well, just do it! And while you’re about it, make some new streets, towns, hospitals, dams, schools, universities, etec. etec. so that you can stop trying to rename and share what already exists!

The shareholders appoint the board. They should fire the entire board and then appoint new members to the board. This circus at board level is the result of apathetic and delinquent shareholders. The board is merely a reflection on the shareholders. This is valid for a free-market economy.

But wait, in South Africa, we have a specific law that appoints specific board members. The BEE board member is forced upon the board by the state. The state actually took control of the board. Therefore, the infighting and circus at the board of Old Mutual resemble the infighting and circus in Luthuli House. BEE laws will eventually turn the board of every company in the country into a circus.

You sir/madam appear to have a very big racial bias which you need to deal with internally first. Steinhoff did not have to do with any BEE but was the biggest corporate scandal. Deal with your bias first before applying it on your judgement of matters

@P101, the exception does not make the rule. BEE recipients seem to have a sense of being above the law. Name one SOE that has no scandal before assuming Steinhoff is representative of corporate SA.

A fine example of whataboutism right there.

@tryingtoretire Neither are SOE’s representative of corporate SA. SOE – whole seperate issue of corruption not representative of private sector.

Back to issue at hand, applying your same principle, exception does not make the rule. Old Mutual’s case is an exception in Corporate SA there’s barely such cases on the news. Therefore it does not mean all boards have overblown issues in court all because of a ‘particular group’ of people.

Again once the premise of your pronouncements is a pre-conceived conclusion on a societal issue (racial at this stage), you have a bias you need to deal with.

You make a statement. Let’s see who of us is the racist. I pay for electricity, municipal services, security, rent and school fees and clothes for about 100 people. Then I am involved with a welfare organisation that cares for 100 black frail care patients.

To how many white people do you provide these services? Zero. I thought so. Now, who is the racist?

“The BEE board member is forced upon the board by the state. The state actually took control of the board.”

Sensai, could you perhaps explain what is a “BEE board member” is?
Is such a member appointed in terms of the Codes of Good Practice? Employment Equity Act? BBBEEA Act? Companies Act?

I’m not aware that BEE plays ANY role whatsoever when it comes to shareholders appointing board members, so some clarity would be most helpful.

Go for it Moyo, useless non executives with their own agenda should be thrown off boards and held to account, non executive arrogance and incompetence is rife in SA.

Please correct me if I am wrong, and I hope I am. It seems as if Peter Moyo did the same at Old Mutual as what Cyril Ramaphosa did at Lonmin. Shanduka received special dividends in order to service the loan from Lonmin that financed the BEE deal. Ramaphosa did not repay a cent. That bad loan basically bankrupted Lonmin.
Moyo learned from the president, just like every BEE beneficiary will follow the example set by the president. BEE is nothing but a sophisticated extortion scheme that uses the legislature to turn equity into cash for the political elite.

As you are criticising BEE, please also highlight the revenue generated as a result of BEE initiatives by Old Mutual and the actual wealth accumulated by the shareholders as a result of BEE.

Old Mutual undertakes BEE initiatives not because it is compulsory but because there is money to be made. Which portion of PIC/GEPF funds does Old Mutual manage, that Old Mutual benefits from and ultimately the shareholders?

I have never came across a company that pushes through BEE if there was nothing to gain from it. Quiet frankly I have never heard of a company owner or shareholder that complains about BEE except for retail,internet penny-shareholders.

Further why are you crying about BEE at Old Mutual? The board and major shareholders of Old Mutual are part of the ANC top brass, not black by the way who voted and actively promotes BEE on a larger scale. That’s whats those guys do and that’s what the company does, you buy knowing that and stop complaining or simply ignore such company.

You believe that Sygnia hiring Mxolisi Jonas as a director is some coincidence? Money to be made, the bottom line. More than the cost of BEE.

That’s to say, who are you? Your hatred for BEE and the aspersions you cast upon yourself are duly noted.

Look mom, another socialist who believes BEE is a good thing!

Good advice, I do ignore these companies, but who cares since it is only pennies. The pennies have gone where they are treated better.

Well it seems that the ANC government is determined to keep insulting previously disadvantaged people with this BEE thing. BEE is required by law to protect them and ensure employment and business opportunity for them. It can therefore be concluded that they are substandard employees and business people. How else should it be interpreted? They are being protected from a minority.

After 25 years of democracy BEE is still required to protect the majority? Come on man. Cant be can it?

Maybe most previously disadvantaged people are just as sick of it. Why be insulted all the time. Because the “Big Shots” want to stay corrupt?

Enough reason for them to stand up and say enough.

Ramaphoria is history-the head of the failed state who BEE himself into undue wealth. Never created a business-never ran one-just legal theft called BEE- a disgusting specimen

Could anybody please tell me what the difference is between apartheid and BEE.

Under Apartheid if Eskom decided to build a power station it got done.


You tell me what did SAA, Eskom, Schools, Hospitals, roads etc looked like under apartheid.

Moyo is a Zimbabwean and in my experience cannot be counted for BEE (maybe there is some technicality that I am not aware of).

Maybe Ray or someone with more knowledge on this can tell us if this is so.

the whole Old Mutual cabal is vrot -totally selfserving , bugger the shareholders

Saibotkram 1988 You should familiarize yourself with the newest terms. The correct term for socialist is State Capitalist which makes even Cuba a capitalist country.

Couple of things INSANE about this story:

Moyo was/is the CEO: He pledged to put shareholders first yet he didn’t. Walk. Nothing else to add. He is literally looking after his R40M paycheck at the expense of billions of lost shareholders funds to date. This will only get worse as this drags out. He is a psychopath. The real reason he is doing this is because he has messed up at each position he has taken. Talk about a BEE appointment!

Same thing applies to the Board. While they are also at fault in a way by not giving him a fair disciplinary process, he broke ALL trust by paying himself before shareholders. That is grounds for immediate dismissal. Completely insane to think he could do this.

Peter Moyo is not a ‘BEE appointment’ as you choose to call it.. He is Zimbabwean, qualified CA, Hdip and AMP at Harvard, former partner at EY,former CEO of Alexander Forbes and former chairman of Vodacom. Competence

Peter Moyo is not a ‘BEE appointment’ as you choose to call ig. He is Zimbabwean, qualified CA, Hdip, and AMP at Harvard, former partner at EY, former CEO of Alexander Forbes and former Chairman of Vodacom. Competence to the t.

Yes again,your bias is exposed because none of what you say is factual or ruled by the court. It is all racial bias on so called ‘BEE appointment’ without considering facts. A problem you need to deal with from within you.

So Harvard doesn’t apply “preferences” in its admissions, eh? No quotas keeping Asians out at Harvard, right? All 100% merits?

Likewise, Moyo’s pigmentation was no factor in his appointments to Alexander Forbes or OM? Really?

You no doubt believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy too. Moyo is a token appointee, finish and klaar.

You can hire and hire all you like but until OM decides to put clients first nothing will change.

Well said Colson. In the end there are no winners, only losers, being shareholders, investors and a name I was proud to have been associated with.

The net outcome is that attention is diverted away from investors and clients. Regardless of the debate of who’s right or wrong in this ego-position-turf war is not what is of concern to me. What is, is that if I had any of my money in OM or any of its instruments, I would get it out soonest.

End of comments.



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