The seemingly never-ending legal battle between the axed CEO Peter Moyo and his employer Old Mutual continued in the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday, where Old Mutual won an appeal against a July court ruling which reinstated Moyo as CEO.
Moyo has since announced that he has instructed his lawyers to appeal this ruling, thereby prolonging the battle even further.
His legal team has instructed Old Mutual not to appoint a new CEO due to his intention of appealing.
Earlier on Tuesday, the court upheld Old Mutual’s application to appeal an earlier order that temporarily reinstated Moyo as Old Mutual CEO.
Moyo was in court accompanied by his defence to contest the case which centres around whether Old Mutual followed proper procedures when it axed him.
A disappointed Moyo standing outside the court said there was a very good chance that his legal team would lodge an appeal after looking through the court’s ruling.
“There are things that we believe create grounds for an appeal.”
He would take the loss “on the nose” while he and his lawyer Eric Mabuza went through the judgment. He stressed that it would be premature for Old Mutual to start looking for a CEO as he could file an appeal against Tuesday’s high court ruling later today.
The verdict which meant Moyo could not return to work as CEO stated that Moyo would have to pay the cost of the appeal case.
Judge Brian Mashile earlier found Old Mutual should have allowed him a disciplinary hearing before accusing him of gross misconduct and firing him.
Old Mutual has argued that the Mashile failed to deal with the fact that as an employer, the company had the right to terminate Moyo’s contract on notice. He was given six-month notice and earned R4 million, which the company said was in line with his employment contract, negating the need for a disciplinary hearing.
The CEO’s lawyers, however, maintain that he was entitled to a disciplinary process.
Last year, Old Mutual’s spokesperson, Tabby Tsengiwe, said the CEO had several opportunities to state his side of the story.
Moyo was fired in June over an alleged conflict of interest involving NMT Capital, a private equity firm he co-founded in 2002 and in which Old Mutual has a 20% stake.
Moyo was accused by the company of declaring dividends worth R105 million at an NMT meeting he chaired on July 4, 2018, and wrongfully pocketing R30 million worth of these dividends. Meanwhile, Old Mutual said it didn’t receive dividends, breaching its rights as a shareholder.
Old Mutual applied for the recusal of Judge Mashile in another case involving contempt of court proceedings laid against the company’s board members by Moyo.
(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko. Background reporting by Daniel Friedman, Ray Mahlaka, Moneyweb)