Liquidators baffled by Aurora boss’ surety notice

2012-07-07 08:59

Aurora director Zondwa Mandela wants the company’s liquidators to come up with a R1 million surety for its court application against him, despite more than R500 million in its assets disappearing while its mines were under his control.

Mandela, fellow director Thulani Ngubane, and Aurora “management consultants” Solly and Fazel Bhana made the move after the liquidators lodged a Section 424 application to have them held personally financially liable for the assets stripped from the company’s Grootvlei and Orkney gold mines.

The application is also understood to be a bid to stifle a second application by the liquidators against the Bhana family to force them to return millions they siphoned off from the mines while in control of them.

Aurora was awarded control of the mines in terms of a preferential bid in October 2009, but failed to come up with the cash to pay the liquidators and creditors of Pamodzi, which owned the mines but which was under liquidation.

During the Aurora tenure, more than R500 million in assets were stolen from the mines, with a subsequent inquiry ordered into the matter by the Master of the High Court.

Lodging the application in terms of Rule 47 (1) of the Companies Act, Mandela claimed that the liquidators were joint provisional liquidators of six companies which were insolvent, in provisional liquidation and had no assets to pay court costs should the court rule against the liquidators.

The notice demands that the R1 million surety be paid by the liquidators within 10 days.

If they fail to do so, Mandela, Ngubane and the Bhanas will go for a court order forcing the payment and staying the liquidators’ claims against them.

The application is seen by the liquidators as part of the strategy by the Aurora team to hinder the legal process against them, which could result in each of them being personally forced to pay creditors, including the 5 000 workers retrenched from the two mines.

Spokesperson for the joint provisional liquidators Johan Engelbrecht said they would “most definitely” oppose any bid by Mandela and associates to force them to pay surety.

He said: “We will absolutely oppose this request for security and are busy drawing up the papers. During the Aurora tenure, the assets disappeared.

“They know that we don’t have these assets, which we are now issuing summons against the directors and management team to recover.

“They are asking us for security from assets they have dissipated. This is very questionable.”

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