'Old Mutual is in contempt of court' - Peter Moyo

Sacked Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo. / Kgothatso Madisa
Sacked Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo. / Kgothatso Madisa

The battle between the Trevor Manuel-led Old Mutual board and embattled CEO Peter Moyo took a dramatic turn yesterday as Moyo was barred from his office and the staff was evacuated from the building following a bomb scare.

Moyo is now accusing Old Mutual of being in contempt of a court order after the company denied him access to his Sandton office despite the South Gauteng High Court interim order that he be reinstated to his position as his dismissal in June was deemed unlawful.

But Old Mutual insists that Moyo should stay away from its head office as the company is appealing the court ruling.

Old Mutual spokesperson Tabby Tsengiwe said the company obtained advice that the CEO can't return to work until the appeal is finalised.

"As far as we have taken counsel as Old Mutual, it means that Mr Moyo is not permitted or allowed to resume duty because our leave to appeal actually means that the order to have him reinstated is suspended."

However, Moyo's legal representative Eric Mabuza disagreed: "An application for leave to appeal only suspends a court order which is final. This is not a final order, it says he is temporarily reinstated. They are in contempt of the court order because they should implement the order, it's not being disturbed by anything."

Moyo was first suspended and later fired after the board, chaired by former finance minister Manuel, claimed that there was conflict of interest due to his involvement in a company he co-founded called NMT Capital.

The board said at the time that there were concerns around declaration of Moyo's dividends in the company. But Moyo later claimed that his removal followed his disagreements with Manuel at board level.

He then took to the courts where on Monday it was ruled he can return to work.

"We actually came back as directed by the court [but] Old Mutual don't believe I should, and I quite frankly consider it a total contempt of court and I think it's one of those things where the board is clearly in contempt," said Moyo.

He said he would meet with his senior counsel, Advocate Dali Mpofu, to decide their next move.

Moyo said his fightback against Manuel and the board was about his rights. "I did not make it difficult. This is actually about people's rights, this is also about people's accountabilities. One of the values of this organisation is actually accountability and integrity."

Meanwhile, hundreds of Old Mutual staff in Sandton were evacuated from the building after receiving a hoax bomb scare yesterday.

Tsengiwe confirmed they received notification that there may be a bomb in the building.

Staff was quickly rushed out of the building in what was initially said to be a normal fire drill but it was later confirmed it was a bomb scare.

Police and the bomb squad were called to the building to defuse the alleged bomb.

"We had to evacuate the building because we had to treat it with the seriousness it deserved," Tsengiwe said.

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