Row over NAFCOC millions

       Nafcoc president Lawrence Mavundla
LEGAL SHOWDOWN: Nafcoc president Lawrence Mavundla

A WAR of words has erupted between the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its investment arm, Nafhold, over "missing" millions of rands.

Nafcoc has accused its former president, Joe Hlongwane, of trying to topple its current leadership in a desperate attempt to remove traces of R158-million that is missing.

Nafcoc deputy president Sinyosi Sikhosana said on Wednesday that Hlongwane wanted to reclaim a leadership position within the organisation because questions were being raised about the R158-million that was allegedly deposited into a French bank in 2009.

Sikhosana claimed the R158-million formed part of the money Nafcoc constituencies had generated through the sale of shares in Nafhold.

"Nafhold chief executive Mike Leaf and chairman Hlongwane claim that Nafcoc does not own shares in Nafhold. They are making this claim because they do not want to account to anyone for the whereabouts of the R158-million that was transferred to Societe General," he said.

The allegations emerge as Nafcoc and Nafhold prepare for a legal showdown on January 29 to determine whether the current leadership under president Lawrence Mavundla is still legitimate.

Sikhosana's other complaint against Hlongwane is an alleged claim that Nafcoc does not own Nafhold - an investment arm that has generated more than R1.2-billion in black economic empowerment transactions.

"Nafhold is consistently trying to undermine the Mavundla leadership. If Nafcoc structures never owned equity in Nafhold, how is it possible for them to sell Nafhold shares they never had? Why was money meant for Nafcoc constituencies diverted to a Societe General bank account instead of Nafcoc constituencies?" he asked.

Nafcoc spokesman, Dan Mbuli, however, said the allegations did not mean Hlongwane and Leaf had stolen the money.

"The allegations beg an answer: why was the money paid into a Societe General bank account instead of the accounts of Nafcoc constituencies?" Mbuli asked.

Hlongwane said the allegations were "a figment of the Mavundla leadership's imagination".

He said the R158-million was a loan from Makalane Investment and the money had subsequently been repaid. He alleged that the Mavundla leadership was being used by a "certain big company" to sow divisions within Nafcoc.

"We went to the commercial crimes unit and presented evidence that R500-million was illegally abused by the Mavundla group," said Hlongwane. -