However, as a criminal case against well-known entrepreneur Wandile Motlana has been launched with the Joburg Commercial Crimes Unit, he told the Saturday Star the “scandalous, vexatious and spurious” allegations were part of a corporate conspiracy designed to oust him from the consortium.
The case originated last September when Motlana’s cousin, Gosego Dingake, launched an urgent application to prevent him from accessing the Toka Trust, a major Kensani shareholder.
According to Dingake’s court papers, she discovered that she was a beneficiary of the trust only in August last year after apparently being informed by Kensani chief executive Kelley Starke-Dow.
As one of the trust’s four beneficiaries, Dingake believed she was due to 25% of all amounts paid to the trust - about R22m.
Dingake claimed Motlana had used his status as a trustee to pay out upwards of R80 million to himself.
She claimed he had “gifted” her R150 000 over the past few years, sometimes at her request.
“Little did I know that these gifts bestowed upon me resulted in Wandile unlawfully and illegally misappropriating funds from the trust,” Dingake said.
She also claimed Motlana had tried to intimidate her adult daughter, Khumo, during a meeting with her at a Daveyton petrol station.
“Wandile handed Khumo a pre-prepared document, informing Khumo that if she did not sign the document he would make sure I was arrested and would go to jail,” Dingake said.
She said the document alleged that she was an alcoholic and drug addict. Khumo crossed these sections out but felt that she had to sign the document.
“Wandile is a powerful, wealthy and connected man. I’m indeed fearful of Wandile and his reputation
“I wish to place on record that should anything happen to me or any other directors of Kensani during these legal proceedings, it will undoubtedly be perpetrated by or at the instruction of Wandile,” a distraught Dingake said.
In October last year, Motlana was interdicted from accessing the trust, with a further application then launched by Dingake to have him removed as a trustee entirely.
According to Dingake’s lawyer, Ian Levitt, the day before the application was set to be argued in the Pretoria High Court, Motlana resigned as a trustee.
While two interim trustees were appointed, Dingake has since launched an application to be made a full trustee, alongside the interim pair.
In Motlana’s answering affidavit to the newest application, he explained his resignation as a trustee as being “for the good of the trust” and to help foster relations between the Motlana and Dingake families.
He denied all the allegations against him, but admitted that as a trustee he was entitled to the millions paid out from the trust as it was a “discretionary trust”.
In an interview with the Saturday Star on Friday, Motlana declined to comment further on the allegations of intimidation, fraud and theft, wary that this could affect future court proceedings against him.
However, he said he was confident that the courts would vindicate him.
As in his answering affidavit, Motlana painted a picture of a divided Kensani board, triggered by a planned settlement from the end of 2015 for Starke-Dow and her husband, Robert, to leave the firm.
According to Motlana, a series of court applications were under way between himself and the couple as both sides vied for control of Kensani.
He believed this current application was a “racist ploy” to push his cousin into opening up cases - civil and criminal - against him, and remove him from his position.
Motlana claimed he had been on the receiving end of anonymous death threats triggered by the upheaval at Kensani, with a colleague, Indiran Pillay, also claiming his life was at risk.
The two claimed that after a “significant” business meeting together on Thursday, Pillay was followed to his home, where an attempted hijacking took place.
While he managed to avoid being hijacked and any serious harm, both believed the incident was linked to the battle for Kensani.