The protracted legal battle between Old Mutual and its former chief executive has now been put to bed – at least for now after the South Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of the company.
It all started in June 2019 when the insurer gave him the axe, alleging that he failed to disclose a conflict of interest related to NMT Capital – a company owned by Moyo.
Old Mutual alleged that the former boss had received a R30 million payment from NMT Capital and that it should have received the pay-out first.
“This situation first arose because the former CEO violated the terms of his employment contract by placing his private financial interests ahead of the company. In flagrant disregard of the provisions in his employment contract designed to manage conflicts of interest between NMT Capital (a company he co-founded) and Old Mutual, Mr Moyo chaired a meeting of the NMT Capital Board on 4 July 2018, at which it was decided to pay an ordinary dividend of R105 million”, the company said in a statement.
“Mr Moyo and his partners thus shared R84m, while omitting to pay preference share dividends, valued at R65.4m at the time, due to Old Mutual”
In July 2019, the high court in Johannesburg ordered Old Mutual to immediately reinstate Moyo and foot the bill for his legal costs as his suspension and dismissal was unlawful.
However the company refused to give in or even let him inside the premises, filing a leave to appeal the ruling that Moyo should be reinstated.
Fired over fallout with Trevor Manuel
Moyo maintained the only reason the company gave him marching orders was because of a fallout with chairperson Trevor Manuel.
He said a breakdown in their relationship came after he had raised concerns over the former finance minister’s “triple conflict of interest” over “Old Mutual’s managed separation, which would see the insurer move its primary listing from the London Stock Exchange to the JSE”, Moneyweb reported.
Moyo claims Manuel’s involvement with Rothschildm& Co, the company that advised Old Mutual on the Managed Separation process was the reason he flagged the conflict of interest.
The insurer rejected this, saying the relationship between Rothschild existed before he became board chairman and was disclosed.
“The suggestion that this issue had anything to do with the decision to terminate the Applicant’s employment is quite simply ludicrous”, the company said in response.