Saturday, December 10, 2011

CIPC to investigate claim of company hijacking

CIPC to investigate claim of company hijacking
December 2011



08/12/11 (L to R) Vigil McLellan Lawyer and James Nesongozwi Director of Umthombo Resources outside the High Court in JHB. (210) Photo: Leon Nicholas

Wiseman Khuzwayo

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) was investigating whether Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyer, Bally Chuene, was fraudulently appointed as a director of a mining company and a sitting director illegally removed, the agency said yesterday.

Rory Voller, the head of legal services at the CIPC, said: “I only read the complaint today. We will investigate the matter. By law we must hear the other side. We will be able to respond by early next week.”

The directors of Umthombo Resources, James Matodzi Nesongozwi and Vuslat Bayoglu, had a corporate fallout and Nesongozwi yesterday directed an urgent application to the South Gauteng High Court in which he alleged Bayoglu was involved with the diversion of funds from the company to another company that he had hijacked from Nesongozwi.

They both have a 50 percent shareholding in Umthombo, although Nesongozwi has purportedly been removed as a director by Bayoglu, a Turkish national.

Jacob de Vos, a lawyer for Nesongozwi, says in his complaint to Voller that he established from CIPC records that his client was removed as a director of Umthombo on November 26 and Chuene appointed in his place.

He says the document purporting to remove Nesongozwi as director and appoint Chuene is fraudulent as the signatures on the documents are forged.

De Vos says this is an attempted hijacking of the company by Bayoglu.

He says: “Kindly note that our client has no knowledge hereof, has not been informed hereof and could not have been removed as director, neither could Mr Chuene have been appointed as director, without his (Nesongozwi’s) co-operation as he controls 50 percent of the issued shares in the company.”

Nesongozwi and Bayoglu have been involved in civil litigation for a year regarding Umthombo, with Bayoglu allegedly having taken control of the company and denying Nesongozwi access to the affairs of the firm.

Umthombo operates the Hakano Colliery in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. According to De Vos, the coal deposits in the mine are estimated to be worth between R900 million and R1.5 billion.

Company hijackings became common when the Companies Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) was in charge of the register and this was one of the reasons that the CIPC was formed this year.

The CIPC is an amalgamation of the Office of Companies and Intellectual Property Enforcement and Cipro.

For more on this dispute see Business Report on Sunday

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