Tue, 22 Jun 2021

Old Mutual appeals Moyo reinstatement order

12 Sep 2019, 16:14 GMT+10

Old Mutual is in the process of appealing the interim judgment which ruled that it must reinstate its axed CEO Peter Moyo, as a bitter legal battle between the parties shows no sign of abating.

The company has prevented Moyo from going back to his old position, after it served him with a second notice of termination of employment on August 21.

"Now that we have been granted leave to appeal... Old Mutual is taking the necessary steps to prosecute the appeal of the interim judgment that ordered Mr Moyo's temporary reinstatement, pending the application for the declaration of the directors to be delinquent," Old Mutual said.

The insurer maintains that the High Court judgment reinstating Moyo has "not affected the validity of the second notice of termination of employment".

Moyo had said that his second axing by the financial services giant was "deliberately calculated to undermine the efficacy of the judgment of this court".

The High Court in Johannesburg is in two weeks' time expected to rule on the matter brought by Moyo to allow further evidence on the application to find the directors of the company in contempt of court, following a decision to bar him from returning to work.

The two parties have been engaged in a legal fight since the Old Mutual board suddenly suspended Moyo in May, citing a conflict of interest and a breakdown in trust. He was fired a few weeks later on June 18, prompting a rare legal battle between one of the country's largest firms and its top executive.

The conflict of interested singled out by the board emanated from payment of dividends in NMT Capital, an investment company co-founded by Moyo. Moyo owns 25% in the entity, while Old Mutual also owns 20% in NMT.

Since 2004, Old Mutual invested almost R300m in various NMT companies. Old Mutual is now in the process of negotiating an exit from NMT, and the financial services firm has said it won't share details of the plan.

The company's exposure to NMT amounts to approximately R297m in payable preference shares. Old Mutual shares have taken a hammering since the battle between itself and Moyo began, and the company says it will "consider all options available to protect the interests of Old Mutual".

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