Zola Skweyiya sues Tshepo Kgadima

2014-12-14 18:00

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The family of struggle veteran and former minister Zola Skweyiya has sent a letter of demand to controversial businessman Tshepo Kgadima, demanding he pay back the R3.6?million they invested in his company Lontoh Coal.

In the letter drafted by Langa Attorneys – representing the Skweyiyas – the lawyers say the family suffered “financial loss as a result of the false and fraudulent representations made to our clients”.

Kgadima was back in the spotlight last month when he was appointed chairman of the board of state oil company PetroSA.

His appointment was rescinded barely a week later, after an outcry from Skweyiya and other investors who said they had lost money invested in Lontoh Coal.

City Press first reported in 2012 that money invested by Skweyiya, his wife, Thuthukile Skweyiya, businesswoman Wendy Luhabe and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi had allegedly been spent on chartered flights, office rental, hotels, lawyers’ fees and backdated salaries for Kgadima.

Investors were promised a 5% return and Kgadima claimed that Lontoh Coal had mining projects in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and was about to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

In its letter of demand, Langa Attorneys said that between April and November 2010, Kgadima personally made representations about Lontoh Coal to the Skweyiyas, both in South Africa and in London, where Skweyiya was the South African high commissioner to the UK.

Skweyiya and his wife say they made a R1.6?million investment while their nephew put R2?million into Lontoh Coal. About a year later, the family began querying the status of their investment. They said Kgadima was evasive.

“We instructed that you initially offered various accounts which increasingly

became contradictory and eventually proved to be misleading, fraudulent and untrue,” the letter reads.

“Our clients later learnt that you have utilised the investment money paid to Lontoh Coal for your own personal benefit which is contrary to the purpose and reasons for which our client had provided the investment money.”

City Press reported that of the R1.6?million deposited by Thuthukile Skweyiya into Lontoh Coal’s bank account, R300?000 allegedly went to Kgadima’s wife, Pheladi Mojapelo, R200?000 to attorneys, R90?000 to Fly Jetstream Aviation and R10?000 was donated to Alleluia Ministries.

It was alleged at the time that about 90?people had invested a total of R11?million in Lontoh Coal.

Langa Attorneys said the Skweyiyas had proof Kgadima had used the money they invested for his own benefit – leisure and “your own frolics”, which “amounts to a gross abuse of your corporate duty, functions and powers as director of Lontoh Coal”.

They have given him until Friday to repay the money or face further legal action.

When contacted for comment, Kgadima said he didn’t have a copy of the letter and insisted City Press send it to him.

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