Aerios says WP Rugby’s directors and its chief executive failed to provide the liquidated company’s “statement of affairs” to the Master of the High Court, as required by the Companies Act of 1973. Photo: Ross Jansen

CAPE TOWN – The advertising partner for Western Province Rugby (WPR) has laid criminal charges against it, after directors and its chief executive failed to provide the liquidated company’s “statement of affairs” to the Master of the High Court, as required by the Companies Act of 1973.

Aerios chief executive Costas Constantinou said the failure constituted a criminal offence.

He confirmed that he had been interviewed by the police this week and depending on the information that they gathered, might decide to refer the matter to higher prosecuting bodies.

He said the directors of WPR (Pty, the commercial arm of the Western Province Rugby Union) were legally obliged to lodge a “statement of affairs” with the Master of the High Court within 12 months preceding the liquidation of the company and within 14 days after the winding up of the company, which was liquidated in December.

“Despite 10 months having elapsed since the final liquidation order was granted, there’s been nothing filed and we have received nothing. I had to lay the criminal charges. It’s an unfortunate situation, now the directors of the company, including Remgro, will have to face the charges.”

The “statement of affairs” is provided by the directors and officers of the company showing the assets of the company, stating cash balance on hand in the bank, its debts and liabilities, the names of all creditors, including all relevant information, secured and unsecured debt whether owed by the company or its officers, including values and dates.

He said according to the act, any person who failed to comply with the obligation to deliver the statement of affairs could be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or to a fine or to both.

Aerios said it was owed R217 million. A valuation of WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd’s assets by auditors PwC, initiated by Remgro and WP Rugby, found its assets to be worth R8.5m.

But Constantinou said intangible assets, including sponsorship deals, player contracts and advertising contracts, were not included in the valuation.

He said Aerios’s valuation set WP Rugby’s assets – including intangibles – at over R150m.

Remgro Sports Investments (Pty) Ltd (RSI) was a shareholder of WPR and had directors serving on the board.

Constantinou said it was impossible for Remgro not to have known about the dealings of the board before the liquidation and what its plan would be after liquidation.

“If it was a legitimate liquidation, why is the information not forthcoming? What are they trying to hide?”

The Hawks were unable to confirm if they would be investigating.

Weekend Argus