Old Mutual dispute with fired Chief Executive drags on as Moyo adds evidence
DURBAN - 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 Chief Executive 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 R4 million ($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 percent 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.Bloomberg