On Monday, TechCentral broke the news that EOH Holdings was suing former directors, including ex-CEO Asher Bohbot, for billions of rand in damages.
EOH has now issued a statement about the matter, saying that the civil suits mark a “significant milestone in EOH’s journey towards closing off its inherited legacy issues and holding those responsible for the governance failings that took place accountable”.
The group is suing Bohbot and former chief financial officer John King for R1.7 billion each due to their alleged failure to deal effectively with governance breaches and corruption on their watch.
It is also suing controversial former public sector head Jehan Mackay for R1.5 billion and former EOH International head Ebrahim Laher for R1.6 billion.
The full statement from EOH, issued on Tuesday afternoon, is published below.
Yesterday marked a significant milestone in EOH’s journey towards closing off its inherited legacy issues and holding those responsible for the governance failings that took place accountable. In reference to the recent TechCentral article, EOH can confirm that it has filed civil claims and is suing a number of former EOH executives including Asher Bohbot, John King, Jehan Mackay and Ebrahim Laher for a total of R6.4 billion in damages incurred by EOH.
When the new EOH board mandated ENSafrica to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the large public sector contracts, they committed to be transparent on the process, the outcomes, cooperate with authorities, prosecute where there was wrongdoing, and implement the correct and appropriate governance frameworks. It was through that process that a number of governance failings, including unsubstantiated payments, tender irregularities and unethical business practices were uncovered. The new board ensured transparent cooperation with the relevant authorities, including the Special Investigating Unit, the Hawks and the enquiry into state capture, throughout.
The actual losses incurred as a direct and indirect consequence of the wrongdoing, which included revenue lost due to reputational damage, fines, settlements and the ENSafrica investigation, were substantial. Furthermore, significant man hours were spent by the various internal teams dedicated to the investigation as well as dealing with the consequences of the wrongdoing. This effort was critical to saving the jobs of as many EOH people as possible as the new board sought to avoid blacklisting by EOH’s partners and customers.
The incredible support and response we have received from our stakeholders has resulted in the winning of multi-year contracts and is a strong indicator that we have followed the correct strategy.
Said Stephen van Coller, EOH group CEO: “It has been no easy feat getting to this point. The new EOH leadership team is immensely proud of everyone who has been involved in this process of saving the jobs of many people and ensuring EOH’s continuing support for our customers in their critical digitisation journeys. As a result of these efforts, EOH remains a leader in the ICT sector in South Africa.
“EOH employees have shown immense loyalty and grit as we have navigated the past two years, and the group can now focus on building EOH 2.0 — a unique business with innovative solutions driven by incredibly skilled and passionate people.” — (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media
Duncan McLeod is Editor of TechCentral, on which this article was first published here.