GEORGE NEWS - The former owners and management of Tekkie Town launched an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court against, among others, Steinhoff NV and its subsidiary Pepkor on Tuesday.
According to Bernard Mostert, former Tekkie Town CEO, they want to restrain the respondents from dealing with the Tekkie Town business in any manner that would prevent Pepkor or Steinhoff NV from restoring the shareholding and control of Tekkie Town to its original owners. The former Tekkie Town owners launched a restitution action in the High Court against Steinhoff NV in May 2018 as well, seeking the return of the Tekkie Town business to them.
Tekkie Town founder Braam van Huyssteen and other shareholders had exchanged the entire shareholding in Tekkie Town for shares in Steinhoff in 2016, which became worthless after the Steinhoff collapse. Auditors PWC's forensic investigation into Steinhoff revealed that a group of its executives, led by Markus Jooste and other external co-conspirators, were responsible for skewing Steinhoff’s actual financial position by R106-billion. These wrongdoings date back as far as 2009.
Van Huyssteen said, “It is clear to us that, following Steinhoff’s publication of the results of the PWC forensic investigation and the company’s own testimony to the parliamentary committees in March, our case for restitution is sound. By the company’s own admission, what was presented to us as Steinhoff’s financial position in 2015 and 2016 was a far cry from the truth and based on elaborate misrepresentations. Steinhoff’s continuing sell-off of assets to raise cash and stave off liquidation is obviously of concern to us and we need to ensure that the outcome of our main action, which is to restore our shareholding and management control of Tekkie Town, will remain a feasible option for the court to order.”
Mostert said that, prior to launching the interdict application, those applying for the interdicts had approached both Steinhoff and Pepkor, requesting an irrevocable undertaking regarding Steinhoff’s control of Pepkor and Pepkor’s control of Tekkie Town.
“Recent revelations and actions by Steinhoff – including an increased velocity in selling assets – suggest to us that Steinhoff’s shareholding in Pepkor itself or the integrity of Pepkor’s controversial shareholding in Tekkie Town may be at risk, be it through attempts to sell the business or efforts to raise debt against the business and its assets,” said Mostert.
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