'Delinquent' set to fight back
LAMBERT Lobelo, owner of a number of construction businesses, who has been barred by the Johannesburg High Court from being a director of any company for the next five years, is fighting back.
Lobelo is one of the first people to fall victim to the new Companies Act after he was declared a delinquent director by the court. The Act came into effect on May 1 2011.
Lobelo was taken to court by his business partner Aobakwe Kukama for allegedly misappropriating more than R60-million.
The money, which was a VAT refund from the South African Revenue Service (SARS), was supposed to go into Peolwane Properties' coffers, where the two are shareholders, but the money was allegedly diverted to Diphuka Construction - owned by Lobelo.
Judge AJ Tshabalala ruled that Lobelo be declared a delinquent director and that Kukama could institute legal proceedings against Diphuka for payment of R22-million together with interest and legal costs.
Lobelo has filed notice of application for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). He said the judge failed to consider the fact that at the time of the hearing, an investigation by SARS was under way and that he was co-operating with the SARS investigation.
"Paragraph 2.7 of the judgment finds that it was common cause that the R39,023,656 claim from SARS was made up of fictitious tax invoices submitted by Royal Alliance on behalf of Peolwane Properties. The judge failed to consider the fact that the alleged fictitious tax invoices were still being investigated at the time of the hearing," Lobelo said.
He added there was another contract between Royal Alliance and Tau Pride Projects signed before March 1 2010, and that Royal Alliance were engaged to handle the tax affairs of Peolwane Properties. Lobelo said the judge also failed to consider this fact.
Lobelo said the judge erred in declaring him a delinquent director and he is optimistic the SCA would come to a different conclusion. He also said the appeal had a reasonable prospect of success.