Tongaat Hulett welcomes NPA action against former executives

Former CEO Peter Staude is among seven accused who appeared in court on fraud charges.
Peter Staude, Tongaat Hulett's former CEO, who is one of the accused in the multi-billion rand fraud case. Image: Supplied

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has finally charged several former Tongaat Hulett executives as well as a Deloitte audit partner with fraud, following an almost two-year-long investigation linked to the accounting scandal that rocked the group a few years ago.

Seven accused, including Tongaat Hulett’s long-time former CEO Peter Staude and Gavin Kruger, the Deloitte audit partner that worked on the group’s audit, appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday in relation to fraud charges totalling R3.5 billion.

Tongaat Hulett pursuing civil, criminal action against former execs
Damning Tongaat Hulett forensic report fingers ex-executives, including Peter Staude

Other Tongaat Hulett executives who appeared in court on the fraud charges include the group’s former CFO Murray Munro, former managing director of Tongaat Hulett Developments Michael Deighton, as well as Rory Wilkinson, Kamlasagrie Singh and Samantha Shukla.

The JSE-listed sugar producer and land developer welcomed the NPA’s court action and progress in the case on Thursday.

“Tongaat Hulett welcomes this development in the legal process, and it will continue to cooperate with law enforcement authorities whenever required to ensure that those responsible for the historic mismanagement of Tongaat Hulett are held accountable,” Johann van Rooyen the group’s company secretary said in a statement.

The seven accused were granted bail of R30 000 each, after the case was postponed to April 11, when it is expected to resume in the high court.

“Late in 2019, Tongaat laid criminal charges against former executives identified for their role in undesirable accounting practices as a result of the PwC forensic investigations. The charges stem from alleged fraudulent activity which took place between March 2015 and September 2018, which saw the suspects cooperate to backdate land sale agreements. The backdated sale agreements had a significant impact on the company’s financial results,” the group noted in its statement on Thursday.

Read: Tongaat Hulett secures shareholder approval for controversial rights offer

“The PwC forensic investigations identified that certain senior executives initiated or participated in undesirable accounting practices which resulted in the company’s profits being overstated over a number of years. This led to the loss of value to our shareholders and many of our other stakeholders.”

“Additionally, civil proceedings brought by the company against four former executives during 2020 are also underway, and Tongaat Hulett will update on developments in this regard when appropriate,” the group added.

Read: Tongaat Hulett confirms civil claims totalling R450m against implicated former executives


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The real collapse of the Tongaat share price ( in my opinion) is the fact that some big insider shareholders knew what was coming and started a run by selling off as fast as possible. The share price had no choice but to follow the stampede downwards… sentiment has a big part to play in share value, wether we like to admit it or not!
What I would like to know is did these big shareholders start selling before or after the accounting irregularities were disclosed?

The dump in the share price was finished by April 2019. The criminal case only started late 2019…

I like your view that there was some insider stuff going on but who? I understand that Staude paid himself a massive bonus based on the fictitious numbers but a lot of it was in Tongaat shares. Who was fooling who?

Institutions holding shares in Family Trusts should be able to give you that answer…wouldn’t take the JSE long to investigate which institution was selling large volumes well before the accounting irregularities were exposed! I’m just not sure if the JSE is brave enough to open this can of worms after all the Corporate and accounting scandals under their watch – far easier to go for the directors and other low hanging fruits. I notice the groups auditing firm is not in the dock, nor have the Steinhoff or EOH hierarchy’s been treated in the same way as these Tongaat executives. Something unfair and fishy going on here, in my opinion.

And Jooste is still sunning himself in Hermanus?

The NPA have acted relatively quickly here – low hanging fruit – white collar private sector crime.

Are they allowed to act on the blatant corruption and fraud identified by the Zondo commission, or is public sector cadre deployment crime out of bounds?

End of comments.




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