Peter Moyo
Peter Moyo

Peter Moyo vs Old Mutual battle continues

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Dec 5, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG - The six-month legal battle between the country's second-biggest insurer Old Mutual and its under-fire chief executive Peter Moyo continued in the South Gauteng High Court yesterday, with Moyo arguing that the order for his reinstatement was not appealable.

Old Mutual told a full bench of three judges it was within its right to terminate the contract.

However, Moyo’s legal council Dali Mpofu urged the bench judges to dismiss Old Mutual’s appeal.

“It would make a mockery of the idea of an interim order,” Mpofu told the South Gauteng High Court yesterday.

Old Mutual is appealing the interim order by Judge Brian Mashile in July to reinstate Moyo citing that the court should consider that the breakdown of confidence was at the crux of the matter. South Africa's oldest insurer previously said that the nature of its relationship with Moyo would potentially have serious, immediate, ongoing and irreparable damage on its management.

It argued that there was no legal or factual basis for Mashile’s conclusion to grant the interim order and said it believed it arose from a mistaken appreciation of the applicable principles.

The group said the core of the concerns that led to the breakdown in the relationship and the board's decision to terminate was that Moyo had declared dividends from which he stood to benefit despite being contractually obliged to prioritise Old Mutual’s interests over his interests.

The 6-month legal battle between Old Mutual and its under-fire chief executive Peter Moyo continued in the South Gauteng High Court yesterday. Photo: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

“On this basis, although the notice records that Old Mutual considered that Moyo had committed acts of misconduct, it is also recorded that the board elected to terminate the contract based on clause 24.1.1 of the contract, nonetheless. The notice explains that Moyo would be paid for the notice period an amount of about R4million, and that he would not be required to perform any further work,” said Old Mutual in court papers.

It said the fact that Moyo would receive his remuneration during the notice period followed from the decision to terminate the contract in terms of clause 24.1.1 of the contract.

Old Mutual fired Moyo in June amid a material breakdown in the relationship of trust and confidence with the board.

In August, Old Mutual refused Moyo entry to its premises, saying he would not be returning to work and issued a further notice of termination in an open letter to shareholders.

Old Mutual said in papers that the letter of termination contained a lengthy section under the heading “reasons” for termination.

“It made it abundantly clear that the reasons for the termination related to alleged misconduct, and the resultant breakdown in the trust relationship,” it said.

It said the letter of termination referred to further misconduct which allegedly occurred after the suspension, wherein Moyo was accused of putting Old Mutual in disrepute by the public statements that he made.

Old Mutual shares rose 2.11percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R18.38.


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