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It seems somewhat irrational to throw the legal kitchen sink at a company that wants you gone and then hope to somehow kiss and make up and continue as normal upon your return. Unless you get the entire board of directors declared legally delinquent and turfed-out to avoid any bad blood in the workplace. That seems to be what Peter Moyo, former Old Mutual CEO, is shooting for after his sacking for an alleged conflict of interest was overturned by a court. Instead however, Old Mutual shut him out after they appealed the verdict. The two main protagonists, former Finance Minister and currently Old Mutual Chairman, Trevor Manuel, and Moyo have been at daggers drawn for years now, the latter accusing the former of hypocrisy in alleged being guilty of the very thing he’s accused of. It’s a mess that has shaved 10% off Old Mutual shares, illustrating how aware Moyo is of the power he yields. Watch this space in the week to come as Moyo adds evidence to his charge that Old Mutual is in contempt of court for locking him out – and to get his permanent job back again. – Chris Bateman
Old Mutual dispute with fired CEO drags on as Moyo adds evidence
By Roxanne Henderson
(Bloomberg) – Old Mutual Ltd.’s dispute with Peter Moyo was pushed out after the South African insurer’s fired chief executive officer was granted leave to add evidence to a contempt of court charge he brought against the company.
Further arguments in the case will be heard after the parties have submitted their heads of arguments and responses, according to the ruling, delivered in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday. That could take about a month, Old Mutual spokeswoman Tabby Tsengiwe said at the court.
The fight spilled into the open in May when the 174-year-old firm suspended Moyo for an alleged conflict of interest. The CEO was dismissed three weeks later, a decision the 56-year-old successfully challenged as unlawful at the end of July. But Moyo was blocked from gaining access to his office after the company filed notice to appeal the end of July ruling, which still has to be heard. He won another bid to return to work six weeks later, but was again shown the door.
Old Mutual last month issued Moyo with a second notice terminating his employment. Moyo was given R4m ($276,000) in pay for his six-month notice period for his second dismissal, Chairman Trevor Manuel said earlier this month, adding that the notice remains valid so Moyo doesn’t need to be at work. Moyo is now adding the second letter to the contempt of court application filed when Old Mutual prevented him from reporting for duty.
Moyo has denied corporate-governance breaches. In papers filed in court at the beginning of the matter, Moyo accused Manuel of orchestrating his departure because he had questioned the chairman over his own conflicts of interest, which Old Mutual and Manuel have both denied.
Old Mutual’s shares have declined 10% since the company said on May 24 it is suspending Moyo, the worst-performer in the five-member FTSE/JSE Africa Life Assurance Index after Discovery Ltd.
Moyo told reporters outside the courthouse that he will file an application to have Old Mutual’s directors declared delinquent and for his permanent reinstatement by the end of this week.
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