CAPE TOWN – It is greater than 18 months since expenses of tried extortion had been laid towards South Africa’s so-called richest lady, Magda Wierzycka, the chief govt of JSE-listed asset administration firm Sygnia, however the case has not but seen the within of a courtroom.
On December 11, 2018, African Fairness Empowerment Investments (AEEI) and its (now former) chief govt, Khalid Abdulla, laid a cost of tried extortion towards Wierzycka after she allegedly approached AEEI and Abdulla to purchase again shares that AEEI and Sekunjalo Funding Holdings (Sekunjalo) have in Sygnia, however at a considerably lower cost – far lower than their market worth.
The investigating officer within the case, Detective Pillay, confirmed the tried extortion case however declined to remark additional because the matter was nonetheless underneath investigation and he was not authorised to talk to the media.
An AEEI spokesperson, who has been following the matter, stated yesterday that there was a back-and-forth by way of the investigation because of the requirement for business crimes in South Africa to first undergo a prosecutor, who additionally carries out an inquiry on the docket. That is earlier than it’s escalated or in any other case.
The Nationwide Prosecuting Authority confirmed this was the case when approached for remark, affirming that whereas they’d information of the matter – by means of media studies – their workplace didn’t as but have a file or docket of the case within the system.
The AEEI spokesperson additionally expressed the corporate’s frustration in that the criticism had been filed greater than a 12 months in the past and apart from it being referred to a senior prosecutor, not so much had been performed, whereas Wierzycka’s tirade continues unabated.
“The SAPS has indicated that there’s a delay in investigating this severe accusation, because of the ongoing fallout from the lockdown in consequence to the unfold of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. They’ve, nonetheless, confirmed that the case could be very a lot open and is being given due consideration.”
The supply, in line with Abdulla’s affidavit, was couched by way of threats from Wierzycka that if AEEI didn’t promote her the shares, at her determined value, she would proceed to make use of the varied media platforms at her disposal to place Sekunjalo, AEEI and its related firm, AYO Know-how Options (AYO), in a destructive gentle – which might negatively have an effect on their repute and talent to commerce successfully.
Collectively, the three entities personal about 3.5 million shares in Sygnia. On the time of the alleged tried extortion, the profit to Wierzycka would have amounted to thousands and thousands of rand.
Written correspondence seen by Enterprise Report reads: “Khalid, I want to purchase your Sygnia shares. We do not have a great relationship and it’ll proceed deteriorating. If we half firm now, I’ll transfer on from AYO, Vunani, Sekunjalo tales. It might be, in each events’ greatest curiosity, a once-off supply. Magda.”
Based on legal professionals specialising in extortion or blackmail, a criminal offense is dedicated when an individual unlawfully and deliberately obtains some benefit, which can be of both a patrimonial or a non-patrimonial nature, from one other by subjecting the latter to strain, which induces her or him handy over the benefit.
Wierzycka has used some media channels to disclaim making a suggestion to purchase the shares at decrease than market-related valuations.
“I’ve made a few makes an attempt to purchase again these shares They’ve rebuked me each single time The final change we had was once I supplied to purchase again the shares at market charges They refused and the subsequent factor I hear is I’m charged with extortion” Wierzycka has been quoted as saying.
Coincidentally, not having been profitable in her makes an attempt to re-purchase the shares in query, Wierzycka stays outspoken towards the businesses she seems to have manufactured a gripe towards.
In her correspondence with AEEI, Wierzycka is seen to repeatedly state that she could be keen to “stroll away from AEEI, AYO, Vunani, Sekunjalo and many others” on situation the shares had been offered again at R7.50 a share.
On the time of the preliminary “risk”, Sygnia shares had been buying and selling within the area of R9.20 per share, immediately they’re buying and selling at R13.27. This could have meant an nearly R6 million loss to AEEI and at immediately’s worth, that may have been in extra of R20 million. It might even have been Wierzycka’s acquire.
Why it’s that Wierzycka now not wanted AEEI as a shareholder in her enterprise and supplied to purchase them out, is anybody’s guess. Nevertheless, on condition that each entities are shrewd companies in their very own proper, it could appear that because the Sygnia share value continues to carry out, AEEI is not going to be seeking to offload its shares any time quickly. The day it does, stated an AEEI insider, the market ought to take observe.