Oilgate scandal haunts Majali

[miningmx.com] — THE recent alleged hijacking of Kalahari Resources has its roots in debt-laden Invume, the company owned by ANC funder, Sandi Majali, and which was at the centre of the infamous “oilgate’ scandal.

Kalahari Resources founder and chairperson, Daphne Mashile-Nkosi, and fellow directors earlier this month discovered they had been illegally replaced as directors by Majali and his business partners.

A court reversed the management coup of Kalahari Resources which had been perpetrated by falsifying records at the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro).

Details of what happened and why, as well as who was involved, are now coming to light.

Firstly, the alleged hijackers, led by Stephen Khoza, had been asked by Majali to do research on Kalahari Resources. The purpose was to help Majali value his disputed stake in Kalahari so that it could be sold at a massive profit.

Khoza’s company, Khoza & Co, however, allegedly temporarily took over the company by falsifying returns at Cipro. It has also emerged that Khoza is believed to be a building hijacker who apparently commandeered at least one apartment building in central Johannesburg in a similar manner.

Majali claims that he knew nothing about Khoza & Co’s plans, but in court papers he admitted that he had approached Khoza for help at his friend Nel Khumalo’s suggestion.

It was seemingly Majali’s last resort in an increasingly desperate attempt to get back the assets that he had surrendered as security for an overdraft facility at Absa amounting to about R40m.

This debt had originally arisen at Invume, the company that in 2004 had obtained controversial tenders from state-controlled PetroSA, but the money had been redirected to the ANC’s election campaign.

It appears that Invume has since found itself in serious financial difficulties and Majali has been accused of attempting to recapitalise it with other people’s money.

History of alleged fraud

Last year, Majali was embroiled in a court battle with the Financial Services Board (FSB) about a life insurer, New Era Life, which, in Judge WJ Hartzenberg’s words, he had apparently used as a private asset and tapped for Invume’s benefit.

Majali apparently acquired a 95% stake in New Era without the FSB’s permission.

He then offered New Era’s principal assets to Absa as security for an overdraft facility intended for Invume.

New Era declared an unwarranted R47m dividend which is alleged to have landed in Invume’s account.

Despite its 5% stake, the Limpopo Development Company (Limdev) did not receive a cent of this so-called dividend.

Majali has since offered Absa his company Tshozi Investments as security for the overdraft facility.

Tshozi owns 85% of Siyanda Mining Company (SMC) and SMC in turn owns 8.33% of Kalahari Resources, an extremely valuable emerging mining group that is building a manganese mine in partnership with ArcelorMittal.

Absa has since liquidated Tshozi and is now itself participating in the company’s general meetings as the actual majority shareholder of SMC, said Lindani Mthwa, chairperson of SMC.

But Majali claims that the liquidation process has not been completed and that he is entitled to sell Thozi to cover the Absa debt, as well as make a couple of hundred million profit.

The appointment of Khoza to investigate Kalahari arose from Majali’s attempt to value Tshozi for the purposes of a R270m offer that he had apparently received for the company.

This comes after Majali earlier this year had attempted to liquidate SMC against the wishes of his fellow shareholders, in order to get hold of information about Kalahari as part of a liquidation investigation.

But this was an “improper purpose” for such a commission, said Acting Judge Andre Gautschi in a March verdict.

The liquidation was reversed. From the outset that had been opposed by Siyanda’s other shareholders.

Majali washes hands

Majali however has washed his hands of the alleged “hijacking’ of Kalahari Resources at the end of last month by the same group that he had approached for help.

The sworn statement that he had submitted to the South Gauteng High Court stressed that he had met Khoza only after all attempts to get hold of Kalahari’s financial statements had failed.

The suggestion by Mashile-Nkosi that he had had anything to do with her removal as a director was entirely baseless, he said.

In the court paper he indicated that he had been the first to find out about the hijacking and had even himself informed Mashile-Nkosi and her brother, one of the other directors removed from Kalahari Resources.

It had been thanks to him that Kalahari’s owners had in fact become aware that they had been robbed, according to Majali’s court documents.

Majali did not oppose the court order that his name be removed as a director of Kalahari.

– Sake24