Media firm obtains court order against ex-director

2014-04-03 00:00

SKY Blue Media, a subsidiary of the Media 24 group of companies, yesterday obtained a high court order provisionally sequestrating the estate of a former director, Gregory Orsmond.

In terms of a high court order granted by Judge Rishi Seegobin, Orsmond must show cause on or before April 24 why the sequestration should not be made final.

His wife, Maxine, to whom he is allegedly married out of community of property, is also cited as a respondent in the case.

In court papers Sky Blue alleges Orsmond (who lives in Port Shepstone on the South Coast) owes the company R10 119 178,23 (plus interest dating back to July 6, 2013) in respect of a high court judgment granted against him on August 30 last year.

Executive manager of the Media 24 group, Abduraghman Mayman, said in an affidavit the judgment was obtained in respect of damages suffered by Sky Blue as a result of alleged “reckless or grossly negligent and/or fraudulent conduct” on the part of Orsmond.

Orsmond had since failed to satisfy the judgment or indicate to the sheriff disposable property that was sufficient to satisfy the judgment.

He maintained Orsmond is in fact insolvent because his liabilities exceed his known assets and said it would be to the advantage of creditors for his estate to be placed under sequestration.

Mayman said Orsmond’s alleged conduct included “misuse or abuse” of his position as a director of Sky Blue and his authorisation of and subsequent payments (on Sky Blue’s behalf) of irregular or undocumented payments to entities in which he had a personal interest, and/or into bank accounts that were unknown to Sky Blue.

He’d accordingly allegedly enriched himself and Sky Blue had suffered damages as a result of his actions.

After obtaining judgment against Orsmond in the high court, Sky Blue proceeded with a sale in execution of certain “uncontested movable assets” but only realised a nett value of R50 406,07. The balance (plus interest) is still due.

Mayman said searches conducted in relation to Orsmond’s assets established that he owns a property, Claverhouse Close, at Uvongo that he bought in 2004 for R450 000. There are two mortgage bonds totalling R750 000 registered over it.

According to a municipal valuation, the property is currently worth R993 000.

He said Orsmond also has interests in various firms and close corporations. These include GOG Consulting CC, Just Victory Trading and Rapid Dawn 1261 CC.

He was formerly a director of eight companies but as a result of his alleged conduct was removed as director of six of these — Fever Newspapers Prop Ltd, Izimpondo Communiciations Prop Ltd, Midlands Media Prop Ltd, Sky Blue Prop Ltd, Natal Witness Printing and Publishing and Zululand Media Prop Ltd.

Mayman said the sequestration of Orsmond’s estate will allow a trustee to investigate his affairs. In the light of the allegations of misconduct and misappropriation such an inquiry to determine the extent and value of his assets would be in the interests of creditors.

He said Sky Blue understood that Orsmond had used a “significant” portion of the funds he allegedly misappropriated from the company to fund construction and maintenance of horse stables on a property owned by relatives of Orsmond (alternatively owned by a trust controlled by his relatives).

As such his estate might have a claim against them for “unjustified enrichment”. However, in light of the family connection, Orsmond was not likely to institute such a claim on his own accord.

Mayman said in the papers Orsmond is free to challenge the allegation that his estate is insolvent and place information before court to show that it isn’t.

However, should he do so, Sky Blue “will obviously take all or any steps necessary to attach any other assets and property owned by Orsmond”.

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