THE National Consumer Commission (NCC) is “out to nail” former Auction Alliance boss Rael Levitt, the Western Cape High Court has heard.
Levitt and two other Auction Alliance employees are challenging the validity of three summonses which called for them to appear before the commission for questioning.
The summonses were issued on April 12, calling on Levitt, chairman Sango Ntsaluba and Auction Alliance’s chief financial officer and acting CEO, Bruce Sneddon, to appear before the commission on May 4.
But during argument yesterday, their lawyers argued that the summonses were invalid and unconstitutional because the NCC was effectively asking their clients to submit themselves for questioning after it had already made a ruling and the investigation was complete.
In March, the NCC found Levitt guilty of contravening the Consumer Protection Act and fined Auction Alliance 10 percent of its annual turnover, which the commission has alleged is R6 billion.
This comes after billionaire Wendy Appelbaum lodged a complaint with the NCC.
The complaint stems from the auction of a wine estate in December, during which, according to the commission’s findings, a “mock auction” was staged using a ghost bidder to drive up the price.
Levitt’s counsel, Peter Hodes SC, said Levitt had been informed that the purpose of the meeting with the NCC was to determine whether his action amounted to fraud.
“They are unfairly out to nail Mr Levitt, and they have shown that as clearly as can be,” said Hodes.