[DEBATE] : (Fwd) ANChancellor crony capitalism (case of Ncwana and Mokoena)
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sat Sep 20 10:32:02 BST 2008
The ANC's dazzling array of directorships
Tim Cohen, Moneyweb, 19 September 2008
The Mbeki years will be remembered for the way ANC politicians dived
into business with extraordinary aplomb, but do we know the full extent
What do De Beers Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer, former ANC Youth League
leader Lunga Ncwana and Taole Mokoena, chairman of Chancellor House, the
alleged ANC funding operation, have in common?
Answer: They are all currently active directors of over 20 companies.
And these are only the ones we know about.
That leading ANC members are directors of even close to the number of
companies of a long-standing icon of South African business sketches
something of the background to the massive move into business by senior
ANC members during the Mbeki- years.
But the involvement of various members of the ANC youth league as
directors of companies forms a bewildering wed of directorship the logic
of which is almost impossible to fathom from the documents alone
Interestingly, very few of the new, post-Polokwane members of the ANC's
top National Working Committee are directors of more than one company,
with the exception of Treasurer General Matthew Phosa.
But do we know the full extent of the dive into business by ANC
politicians? The short answer is no. A thorough search of the national
government's Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office
(Cipro) documents suggests the maintenance of the database of businesses
and directorships is in a parlous state.
It also includes some very obvious weaknesses, which makes it almost
impossible to keep accurate track of the directorships of individuals -
something which clearly people wishing to avoid being registered on the
database know about and exploit.
Take Ncwana as an example. A Cipro search reveals no less than eight
permutations of his name. He appears in the database as Mcwana (with an
M), Luncia Raymond; Ncwana, Lunga; Ncwana, Lunga Rayment; Ncwana, Lunga
Raymond (with no initials included); Ncwana, Lunga Raymond (with
initials LR); Ncwana, Lunga Raymond, (with initials RL) Ncwane (with an
e), Lunga Raymond; and Ncwana, Lunga Raymond (with an obviously
incorrect identity number)
It's almost comic.
Some of these references yield the same set of companies, which include
the now (almost) famous Viking Pony Properties 395, allegedly the
vehicle used by deceased businessman Brett Kebble to illegally funnel
cash to the ANC youth league.
Randgold & Exploration (R&E) company secretary Roger Pearcey has alleged
in court papers that Kebble embarked on an empowerment transaction in
July 2003 in which R&E purchased this shelf company from a consortium
called Phikoloso Mining for 8,8m R&E shares, worth at the time, about R268m.
The Cipro records suggest that Kebble was a director but resigned
simultaneously with the creation of the company, while Lunga and various
other members of the ANC Youth League resigned shortly afterwards.
Interestingly, the records also reflect that Ncwana resigned in May 2003
from Itsuseng Investments, a company that with Lembede Investment
Holdings is suing the Kebble estate, despite the fact that he
acknowledges that he earned R13m from Kebble over the years.
In court papers, he alleges that when he was CE of Itsuseng Investments
and fellow youth league member Songezo Mjongile was CE of Lembede
Investment Holdings, they entered into an agreement with Kebble in 2002.
They were to identify business opportunities for Kebble and advise him
on political developments related to BEE policies. Mcwana claims he
earned R13,25m but had been paid only R11,5m and is claiming the
remainder from Kebble's estate.
Lembede Investments is also interesting case of registration confusion.
The company is currently at the heart of disputes within the ANC Youth
League, since some members of the group draw large salaries from the
Business Day recently reported that Lembede's board members include the
youth league's former treasurer-general Phumezo Mqingwana, Thabo Kwinana
and Songezo Mjongile .
Yet in fact, there are over 30 companies that include the Lembede name,
including Lembede Resources and Lembede Strategic Investments of which
Mjongile and Mqingwana are both sole directors.
Lembede Investments does exist, but the only director is the name of the
person who originally established the company as a shelf entity. Who the
actual directors are is not known, since changes to directorships are
apparently not always reflected in the database.
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