Following a raid of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, the offices of controversial businessman and publisher Dr Iqbal Survé’s, by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and the police, the company has released a statement announcing it is launching a lawsuit against the FSCA, which it accuses of misleading a court of law.
The statement says the decision of Judge Patric Gamble to grant the application which led to the raid “was based on a gross misrepresentation of the facts and the vital omission of material information”.
The company will now take the financial authority to the high court in a bid to set the application aside, and has also instructed its legal counsel to “proceed with haste with an extensive damages claim against the FSCA, its acting commissioner, as well as the investigators that participated in the irregular raid on our offices”.
The statement claims it is unjust that another company is accused of corruption, such as Steinhoff, Tongaat Hulett, EOH, and that “hundreds of other companies” have not been raided and yet Sekunjalo has.
In a repetition of claims made by Survé following the raid in one of his own publications, Business Report, the statement accuses those involved in the raid of “a blatant abuse of power with the specific purpose to achieve private, personal and political agendas”.
“Their draconian actions are a violation of the constitutional rights of the citizens of our country and in particular, black business,” says the statement.
Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan on Thursday hit back at Survé’s accusation that he was behind the search and seizure operation, calling the claim “malicious, yet nonsensical”.
“Mr Survé has launched unsubstantiated attacks on our client without any evidence or facts. He also attacked the judiciary,” said Gordhan’s lawyer Tebogo Malatji.
“The chief justice has invited those who make these kinds of allegations against judges to come forward with evidence to prove any impropriety on the part of judicial officers. Mr Survé is invited to produce proof of allegations he has made about the two judges, including that one refused to grant the FSCA a warrant and that another judge who granted the warrant did so because he has a relationship with our client.”
He said distraction and deflections had become a reflexive response by those who were under suspicion of “one or other kind of misdemeanour”.
In a statement, the FSCA said the operation was conducted as part of an investigation into allegations of prohibited trading practices (market manipulation), and possible contraventions of section 80 of the Financial Markets Act.
“The order for the search was granted by Justice Gamble of the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, 8 October 2019. It allows the FSCA to conduct the search over two days under the supervision of an independent attorney.”
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Charles Cilliers.)