Monday, November 9, 2015

Haese said ‘could’, not ‘would’-SHAREMAX

Haese said ‘could’, not ‘would’
By Laura du Preez

The Press Ombudsman has upheld a complaint by Nova Property Group that Personal Finance incorrectly stated in a recent article that Nova chief executive Dominique Haese wrote to Sharemax investors warning them not to complain to the Ombud for Financial Services Providers as they “would” forfeit their rights as debenture holders.

Haese’s 2013 letter, in fact, stated that they “may have chosen to” forfeit their rights. Personal Finance regrets the error.

The complaint was one of five laid by Haese against Personal Finance and its editor, Laura du Preez, about an article titled “Sharemax ruling tests ombud’s powers” (April 18, 2015). Four of the five complaints – that sentences in the article were incorrect and defamatory – were dismissed.

The article considered the implications of a ruling by the Appeal Board of the Financial Services Board upholding an appeal lodged by Haese and other former directors of Sharemax against a determination by the ombud, Noluntu Bam. Bam had found the directors liable for the losses suffered by two pensioners who invested in Sharemax.

Johan Retief, the Press Ombudsman, dismissed Haese’s complaints that Personal Finance had quoted the ruling out of context and “twisted” the meaning of it. He also noted that Personal Finance had previously corrected an incorrect reference in the article and the status of the South African Revenue Service’s case against Sharemax.

The press ombud noted that the article was intended to inform the public that the ruling did not mean that all was lost for investors seeking to recover their losses.

This was the fifth complaint since 2013 from former Sharemax management against Personal Finance. Previous complaints were either withdrawn or rejected. The ombudsman’s full finding is available at

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