Former African Bank boss dies

2015-02-01 09:40

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East London - Controversial former African Bank executive Tami Sokutu, has died at the age of 53 after a short illness.

According to the Sunday Independent, family spokesperson, Saki Macozoma, said Sokutu had not been well for some time and died in his sleep at his house in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape, on Friday night.

Macozoma said police did not suspect foul play but that a post mortem would be carried out.

The former bank executive landed in hot water last year after allegedly using the “f” word in August against the bank’s clientele – who were largely the poor that had borrowed from the embattled bank.

Sokutu finally apologised in September and reportedly said he was sorry for the hurt caused to all the bank’s stakeholders.

At the time, Fin24 reported that African Bank and its curator Tom Winterboer of PwC distanced themselves from remarks by Sokutu.

"Tami Sokutu resigned and officially left African Bank on February 6 2014. He is no longer an employee of African Bank," Winterboer said in an email to Sapa.

"The views of Mr Sokutu are not the views of African Bank or the curator. We deeply regret the tone in which he engaged with the media."

Obtained loans

At the time, Winterboer said he was not in a position to answer further questions because his curatorship was in its early stages.

The Sunday Times had earlier quoted Sokutu as saying: "F*** them, f*** them" in relation to people who had obtained loans but could not afford to repay them. These people had been listed as bad credit risks.

Sokutu said he lived lavishly with "no regrets" and that borrowers should not have taken loans if they knew they could not repay them.

Various houses

As published by News24 at the time, the Sunday Times had reported that Sokutu made more than R50m in share options and R35m in salary and bonuses during his time as head of risk at the bank.

Sokutu joined the bank in 2002 and was appointed to the board a year later.

SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) governor Gill Marcus placed African Bank under curatorship last month.

It was reported that when it was announced that the bank had been put under curatorship, Sokutu showed no signs of remorse for the splurge of lending.

He apparently boasted to the Sunday Times about how he made his millions, globetrotting, his six cars and various houses.

Sokutu said he did not ever have to work again and was not worried about African Bank's collapse, because he was focused on his upcoming trip to play golf in Scotland.

Marcus said among African Bank's woes was that, in a six-month period to March 2014, it posted a headline loss of R3.1bn.


Read more on:    african bank  |  east london

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