Ralston Smith's six-year court battle over One Vision Investment continues
Johannesburg - Businessman Ralston Smith is seeking leave to appeal a ruling in which Justice Ronel Tolmay found that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that paved the way for his removal as the majority shareholder of One Vision Investment was valid.
The company, One Vision, which owns the Lahleni Lakes Golf Estate, a 1 130-hectares development in Mpumalanga, has been at the centre of a six-year battle between Smith and his former partner, billionaire Joe Singh.
The case pitted Smith against Singh, with the former accusing the latter of failing to meet suspensive conditions of a negotiated MOU that would have him take control of 100% shares of the estate, Lahleni Lakes.
The matter has in the last seven years played out in different courts, with Smith maintaining that he was fraudulently removed as a director of Lahleni lakes after Singh failed to legally take over the estate and resorted to fraud by forging his signature to facilitate the takeover.
In the court papers Sm,ith alleges that Singh and his general manager, Peet Erasmus, orchestrated the takeover.
Singh has failed twice already in his bid to have the matter quashed, first in the North Gauteng High Court and at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.
Initially, Judge Christelle Basson, sitting in North Gauteng, ruled that the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) must probe complaints by business owners who alleged their companies or shares had been “hijacked”.
In a bid to stop the CIPC probe, Singh took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal, where his legal team, led by advocate Danie van Loggerenberg, argued, among other things, that the CIPC had no jurisdiction to investigate Smith’s complaints.
The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Singh’s appeal with costs.
Undeterred by the SCA, Singh brought a related matter before the North Gauteng High Court, where he asked Judge Ronel Tolmay to order Smith to negotiate a settlement with him. Singh insists that Smith quit of his own accord and must accept a R14 million settlement.
Smith denied he entered into an agreement to give up his share of the company and instead accused Singh, or people acting on his behalf, of forging his signature to enable the unlawful takeover.
In court papers submitted this week, Smith argues this is wrong and a higher court may come to a different conclusion.