Friday, January 13, 2012

Khulubuse Zuma ordered to pay R10m

Khulubuse Zuma ordered to pay R10m
PERTUNIA RATSATSI | 13 January, 2012
Three days before he is expected to testify in the liquidation inquiry of his beleaguered Aurora Empowerment Systems, Khulubuse Zuma has been ordered to pay more than R10-million to one of the company's creditors.

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Aurora directors may be criminally charged Zuma, a nephew of President Jacob Zuma and a director of Aurora - along with Zondwa Mandela, grandson of former president Nelson Mandela - signed a surety agreement for Aurora and must therefore pay the money owed to the Protea Coin Group from his own pocket.

The high court order was made in Pretoria on Wednesday in terms of an out-of-court settlement between the companies.

Protea Coin, which provided security services to Aurora at its Grootvlei mine, in Springs, applied for a liquidation order against the embattled miner on May 26 2010 after Aurora failed to pay it.

The settlement was made an order of court on July 28 2010.

Aurora undertook to pay Protea Coin R250000 on July 28 2010 and R1-million on August 6 2010. But it failed to do so.

Aurora also undertook to pay the balance of R11189596 with interest by September 3 2010. The parties agreed that R12439596 was owed to Protea Coin.

On October 12 2010, Zuma signed surety for Aurora, promising that the company would pay its debts. The surety was to remain in force until Protea Coin was paid.

Desperate for payment, Protea Coin turned to the high court on Wednesday to force Zuma to pay. The court ruled in its favour.

Yesterday, Zuma's attorney, Ahmed Amod, said he was unaware of the order.

"I haven't spoken to my client for some time," he said.

Zuma was not available for comment yesterday.

Aurora is at present involved in a pre-liquidation inquiry in connection with its failure to pay creditors.

Johan Engelbrecht, one of the liquidators, said Pamodzi Gold was expected to claim up to R1.7-billion in damages from Aurora.

The money owed by Aurora is believed to be in the region of R100- million.

In December, Gideon du Plessis, deputy general secretary of trade union Solidarity, said Aurora made about R127-million from the sale of Grootvlei and R48-million from selling equipment and scrap.

Aurora has not paid many of its workers for more than two years.

In December, the Sunday Times reported that Zuma had bought his fiancée, Fikisiwe Dlamini, a 2009 silver Maserati.

The cars sell for between R1-million and R1.6-million.

It was presented to her at Durban's five-star Oyster Box hotel, to which Zuma is a regular visitor.

Both Zuma and Mandela have been accused of delaying the company's pre-liquidation inquiry.

Zuma was expected to give testimony about his role in the alleged plundering of the mines on December 9 but he asked for a postponement because, he said, he had appointed a new legal team.

In September, Zuma said he wanted to testify in Zulu and a translator had to be found.

In November, he did not appear, claiming that he was ill and was suffering from complications related to his obesity.

Mandela failed to appear "without a reasonable excuse" on December 8. This led to the liquidators of Pamodzi Gold preferring criminal charges against him.

Engelbrecht said they would pursue Mandela's criminal case on Monday.

"We are definitely proceeding with criminal charges against him."

Engelbrecht said Mandela would be required to testify in a magistrate's court, which would have the power to order his arrest if he failed to appear.

Du Plessis said he appreciated the effort made by Protea Coin and encouraged other creditors to do the same.

"Aurora directors always thought they were untouchable. Should Zuma fail to pay the money, Protea Coin must pursue the matter and press more charges.

"If he can afford to buy his fiancee an expensive car, he can pay his debts," said Du Plessis.

Engelbrecht said the Protea Coin case would not affect the liquidation process.

"This was why Protea Coin withdrew their security services on the East Rand and we insisted that Aurora hire Fidelity Security to guard the mine." - Additional reporting by Mhlaba Memela
( Times Live )

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