NMBM takes stadium operators to court

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has dragged Access Management to court, claiming the stadium operators forced them to pay out R200-million more than they should have in a six-year period.

The municipality has now accused Access, its director Rian Oberholzer, chief-executive Chantal du Pisani, and municipal assistant director of finance, Nadia Gerwel, of “fraudulent misrepresentation”.

The move comes more than a year after AfriForum first accused the firm of acting underhandedly, also asking the municipality to set aside its contract with Access.

And now the municipality wants them to pay up more than R200-million.

Court action also stems to events coordinator Andrea Wessels and her company, Zeranza, who it is alleged claimed R8.9-million that was not actually due to her.

In papers filed with the Port Elizabeth High Court last week, the municipality accused Access of either over claiming on expenses incurred by the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium,  or under declaring their income.

The parties were given 10 days in which to file their notice to oppose the court action.

Each persons’ role in the alleged misrepresentation is set out in papers in possession of The Herald.

While Oberholzer and Du Pisani are the directing minds of Access, the municipality said Gerwel purported to represent the Bay municipality and was responsible for  payment due to Access.

In September 2009, ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, an agreement was reached with then Acting Municipal Manager Elias Ntoba for Access to operate and manage the stadium for the period October 1 2010 to June 30 2012.

In May 2012, a second agreement was concluded for the period July 1 2012 to June 30 2015.

“On March 13 2015, [the municipality] approved a resolution to grant a deviation of the supply chain management policy…in terms of which [Access] was appointed for the same purpose for a further 12 months,” court papers state.

In terms of the agreement, Access was obliged to pay all turnover and income generated from the stadium to the municipality.

Access was meanwhile entitled to claim payment from the municipality for certain costs incurred, such as authorised events, capital expenses, fixed operating expenses, management fees and variable event expenses – all set out in the resolution.

The municipality claims Access overcharged them by R200-million in the six year period.

Court papers set out how between  February 2012 and March 2012, Access submitted several invoices to the municipality for a total of nearly R12-million.

Gerwel, in turn, ensured that the municipality  paid an amount of R8.9-million to Access, and a further R2.9-million to the stadium’s anchor tenant, the EP Rugby Union.

But the municipality now alleges that neither entity was entitled to that payment.

“The defendants did not at any time disclose to the [municipality] that the payments were being made in circumstances where they were not entitled to the funds…This constitutes a fraudulent misrepresentation on their part.

“Had the defendants made the necessary disclosure to the [municipality], it would not have paid the funds.”

It is further alleged that between March 1 2009 and February 28 2010, Access claimed that in operating the stadium during that period, they  incurred expenses totalling R15.8-million, when in fact their expenses were in the region of R12.3-million.

It is further alleged that Access short changed the municipality by under declaring its income by more than R1-million for the same period.

The fraudulent misrepresentations allegedly continued, with similar claims being made between August 2010 and July this year.

The municipality says Access over claimed an amount of R199.2-million.

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