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Peter Moyo loses battle against Old Mutual after Constitutional Court dismisses case

Former Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo. File photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

Former Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo. File photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

Published Sep 4, 2023


Old Mutual has announced that the four-year legal battle with its former CEO Peter Moyo has ended following the Constitutional Court dismissing his case.

This comes after the Constitutional Court dismissed Moyo’s application to appeal against a High Court decision made in 2022 which dismissed the former CEO’s claim of R250 million in damages against the company.

The spat between Old Mutual and Moyo started in May 2019 when he was suspended for an alleged conflict of interest.

Old Mutual said the situation started because the former CEO violated the terms of his employment contract by allegedly placing his private financial interests ahead of the company.

“In flagrant disregard of the provisions in his employment contract designed to manage conflicts of interest between NMT Capital (a company Moyo co-founded) and Old Mutual, Moyo chaired a meeting of the NMT Capital Board on 4 July 2018, at which it was decided to pay an ordinary dividend of R105 million.

“Moyo and his partners thus shared R84 million, while omitting to pay preference share dividends, valued at R65.4 million at the time, due to Old Mutual,” the group said.

The group said it engaged Moyo for months about the matter, with no resolution, then fired him after three weeks. Moyo successfully challenged this decision in the High Court.

The group prevented Moyo back to work and fired him the second time.

Moyo and Old Mutual then went back and forth in court over the dismissal and its legality, with the former CEO ultimately seeking R250 million in damages from the group.

Moyo then approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in November 2022, where the case was again dismissed.

According to the group, the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision follows a string of recent rulings all making it clear that Old Mutual did not act unlawfully in connection with the termination of Mr Moyo’s employment in June 2019.

Old Mutual said this decision followed a ruling in July by the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court, which had dismissed with costs an application for leave to appeal by Moyo relating to the January 31, finding in favour of Old Mutual, dismissing Moyo’s R250m damages case.

“The January decision in favour of Old Mutual held that even on Moyo’s evidence, he had failed to establish any basis on which it could be held that Old Mutual had acted unlawfully in connection with the termination of his employment in June 2019.

“It also follows the May 2022 judgment by a Full Bench of the Gauteng Division of the High Court which dismissed with costs Mr Moyo’s consolidated applications to have the Old Mutual non-executive directors declared delinquent and in contempt of court,” the group said.

Old Mutual spokesperson Tabby Tsengiwe told Business Report: “I think this is once again a vindication of corporate governance and the board’s fiduciary responsibility to oversee that corporate governance is well carried out, and this is the indication that the board acted within the law in 2019.“