GEORGE NEWS -A war of words in the form of media statements erupted between the ex-owners of Tekkie Town and its current owners.
This follows a Cape Town High Court ruling on Wednesday 27 January in an application by AJVH Holdings of Tekkie Town founder Braam van Huyssteen, and others, to include Pepkor in a restitution and damages claim against Steinhoff.
The Steinhoff shares that the ex-owners received in 2016 as payment for Tekkie Town lost all value after Steinhoff's implosion and they are in a legal battle for compensation and to get their business back. Steinhoff sold Tekkie Town to Pepkor Holdings in 2017.
Pepkor has been maintaining that they had bought the business "for value and with full consent" from the former owners.
Following last week's court ruling, the ex-Tekkie Towners issued a media statement claiming the court had ruled in their favour and they have successfully joined Pepkor to their legal proceedings, which will allow them to claim directly against Pepkor.
Pepkor swiftly followed up with a media release, calling the claimants' statement "a scurrilous and inaccurate communication". "Please treat the communication with extreme caution as it has been written to deliberately muddy the facts," they warned.
The ruling states that Pepkor's exceptions raised against AJVH's claim be upheld with costs, and Judge Lee Bozalek gave the claimants 20 days within which to amend their particulars of claim.
Pepkor based its exceptions, among others, on the argument that the applicants had failed to present the facts needed to conclude that Pepkor had knowledge of alleged irregularities at Steinhoff at the time of acquiring Tekkie Town from Steinhoff.
In its media statement, Pepkor said, "Pepkor is a separate legal entity and as such, can't be held accountable for the alleged irregularities that happened at Steinhoff. This is the fifth consecutive case that Pepkor has won, and in all instances, was dismissed with costs. Pepkor will continue to follow the legal process."
Former Tekkie Town CEO Bernard Mostert said in their statement, "Whilst the Pepkor board and management try their best to stonewall the Tekkie Town advance, they rely on exactly the same events to claim damages from Steinhoff themselves."
He said 1 July 2017, the day that Steinhoff sold Tekkie Town to Pepkor (Steinhoff Africa Retail - Star), Steinhoff owned 100% of Pepkor. "What is now known as Pepkor was a shelf company incorporated on 22 May 2017 by Steinhoff and through which Steinhoff pooled a large group of its South African assets through what it termed an 'internal restructuring'."
Mostert quoted the Pepkor pre-listing statement: "Steinhoff International implemented the internal restructuring on 1 July 2017. Accordingly, a single holding company, Star, has been established and, with effect from 1 July 2017, owns the Steinhoff Africa Retail Assets to be listed."
Mostert said, "Critically, many of these assets including the 'old' Pepkor and Tekkie Town were acquired based on financials that Steinhoff itself has withdrawn due to accounting inaccuracies. These have subsequently been restated by the company."
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