Twice-fired CEO wants Old Mutual directors jailed for six months

Pedro Gonçalves
Twice-fired CEO wants Old Mutual directors jailed for six months

Axed Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo has asked the South African high court to punish the company's current directors with six months' jail time, without the option of a fine, for being in contempt after they refused his court ordered reinstatement. 

In an affidavit filed on Tuesday at the high court in Johannesburg, Moyo said the insurance giant's directors, including its chair Trevor Manuel, must be jailed "as punishment for their contempt of court without the option a fine". "A non-custodial sentence would be disturbingly inappropriate in this particular case," the affidavit highlighted, local media reports.

According to Moyo, Old Mutual's non-executive directors have shown unprecedented levels of contempt for court judgments, the judge assigned to the case and the rule of law

It must prove a breakdown in trust and confidence"

Moyo was suspended from the board in May for a breakdown in trust and confidence. 

He was fired in June, and again in August in an open letter to shareholders in which the company said it was clearly in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders that the employment relationship with Moyo should come to an end. 

Old Mutual argues that it is not in contempt of court for refusing to let Moyo carry out his duties as CEO. It said that after the first reinstatement ruling, it was not obliged to "received Mr Moyo into active service" and "carry out the functions contemplated in his employment contracts". His second axing in August, meanwhile, was a separate legal act. 

Moyo last week sued Old Mutual and its directors for R250 million after the group refused to let him resume his duties, despite the South Gauteng High Court ruling that he should be reinstated.

Moyo denies that there is complete destruction in the relationship of trust between himself and the JSE-listed company. In his replying affidavit to Old Mutual's contempt of court application filed at the South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, Moyo said that Old Mutual cannot merely assert a breakdown in trust and confidence. 

"It must prove a breakdown in trust and confidence. More importantly, a court of law has decided that the alleged breakdown is not complete or irretrievable. That decision whether it is correct or not stands as we speak," Moyo said in the court documents. 


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