Company revived for trial

2014-02-26 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG security company boss Mahomed Yacoob obtained a high court order yesterday to re-register his company, Khuselani Security and Risk Management Services, so that he and it could face criminal charges.

The company was placed under voluntary liquidation in January 2010.

The application was launched on a “semi urgent” basis yesterday because Yacoob said he was negotiating a plea bargain with the state over tax evasion charges. He said the state prosecutor said he could not plead on behalf of an entity that had been dissolved.

He said it was agreed by the South African Revenue Service and the state that the company would be restored and that charges would then be levelled against it. Yacoob said in his affidavit that he settled all amounts owing to creditors of Khuselani, including a payment of R9 444 412,19 to SARS in March last year.

Yacoob laid the blame for the financial woes of Khuselani Security and Risk Management at the door of the company’s former financial manager, Robin Hazell, who committed suicide in November 2009. “At the date of the commencement of liquidation [of Khuselani], it was believed that the debt owing to SARS was R274 031,49,” he said.

Following a “protracted audit investigation” it emerged that SARS was owed the R9,4 million, he said.

Yacoob added that although the amount was considerable, it “didn’t surprise him” because by then it had been established that “Hazell was struck from the roll of attorneys and had orchestrated the Masterbond fraud”.

The Masterbond fraud in the 1990s involved more than R600 million, most of it from pension funds. Three directors were sentenced to 10 years each in jail for the scam.

He said he hadn’t been aware of this when he and Hazell acquired the Khuselani business in 2006.

“I became the sole director. Hazell was the chief operating and financial manager,” he said.

Yacoob said he focused on marketing the security company while Hazell “took over full financial control”.

“In 2009, I took a decision to slip away from the entity as I had commenced another security company … My new entity was much larger than [Khuselani],” he said.

Mohammed Talha Suyee had substituted him as director, and he and Hazell thereafter ran the daily affairs of Khuselani “at their sole discretion”, said Yacoob.

After Hazell’s death, it was found that the financial records were in “shambles” he said. Suyee had noticed, while “gathering documents” in Hazell’s office, that there was “serious mismanagement and/or maladministration” in Khuselani’s financial affairs.

Acting on legal advice, they applied to place the company under voluntary liquidation, which was done on January 25, 2010.

Yacoob said due to circumstances unknown to him the criminal charges against him were instituted a year after he had settled the outstanding amount with SARS.

He was then charged in his personal capacity and not as a representative of the company, because the prosecution believed an entity that had been dissolved could not be charged.

The criminal case is set down in the regional court on March 12.

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