Moyo hits back at Old Mutual in new court salvo

Peter Moyo
Peter Moyo
Image: MARTIN RHODES/BUSINESS DAY

Axed Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo has filed yet another urgent application in the Johannesburg high court, asking it to declare the insurer in breach of the constitution because it fired him again while it was still waiting for a judge to decide on the legality of his first dismissal.

The latest salvo by Moyo, who was first dismissed by the country’s second-largest insurer in June, comes after Old Mutual served him with a second notice to terminate his employment on Wednesday.

The company issued an open letter to shareholders on Thursday announcing the second axing, saying it wanted to make it clear that regardless of any court ruling, Moyo would not be welcomed back as CEO.

In July, Johannesburg high court Judge Brian Mashile ordered Old Mutual to temporarily reinstate Moyo because it had fired him without a disciplinary hearing in June for an alleged conflict of interest involving NMT, a private equity firm that Moyo co-founded.

Old Mutual Life is a shareholder in NMT. The insurer, which is appealing against that ruling, was still waiting to hear if it would be successful when it fired Moyo again on the basis of legal advice and “careful reflection by directors”.

Moyo argued in his affidavit filed late on Monday that the court should declare that Old Mutual was in breach of section 165(3) of the constitution because the latest axing put the insurer in contempt of court, and was a deliberate attempt to interfere with the legal processes.

Section 165(3) of the constitution states that “no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the courts”.

“Old Mutual’s conduct, which is deliberately calculated to undermine the efficacy of the judgment of this court, constitutes an act of interference with the functioning of this court,” Moyo said in the latest affidavit.

Moyo’s legal team has accused Old Mutual and its board of being in contempt of court before when it prevented him from returning to work after the July ruling that he should be immediately reinstated.

Moyo said the latest move to fire him in anticipation of a judgment that the court was yet to announce constituted a “grave act of interference” with the court processes.- BusinessLIVE

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