By Pinky Khoabane
The BillBoard That Got DA Cllr Lapping To Slap Niemand with Cease & Desist Letter
Affidavit by Democratic Alliance Councillor claims FNB’s CEO Jaques Celliers, at the time CEO of Credit, allegedly offered him “R100,000 to go away”.
DEMOCRATIC Alliance Councillor Simon Lapping, who in 2015 wrote a statement in the form of an affidavit, in which he alleged to have had several thousand rands wiped-off from accounts he owed First National Bank including getting a home loan which he implied he didn’t deserve, has sent a lawyers’ letter demanding Nico Niemand “immediately desist from such unlawful and defamatory publication by any means whatsoever.
“Should you persist and same comes to our client’s attention we hold instructions to proceed to obtain an interdict from the relevant court to order you to cease and desist”.
According to the lawyer’s letter, Niemand was pursuing a civil case against FNB, and Lapping, an “activist” at the time, wrote the statement in an attempt to assist Niemand. Here’s the full lawyers’ letter. Nico Niemand Joubert Attorneys
In the said affidavit, published here on UnCensored several weeks ago which Lapping confirmed was true, the DA Cllr of Ward 17 in Ekurhuleni claimed his FNB credit card and overdraft facility was in arrears of R400 and was receiving numerous calls from the bank’s debt collectors. He retaliated by threatening to harass FNB’s CEO at the time, Michael Jordaan, if the bank debtors didn’t stop. Lapping received an invitation to meet FNB’s then CEO of Credit (and now CEO of FNB) Jaques Celliers, where he claims he was offered R100 000 to go away. The affidavit reads:
“I went through to Bank City the following morning to meet with Mr Mr Cilliers (sic). There was (sic) about five people present in the room, Mr Cilliers (sic), an Indian lady (their “legal” person”) Darryl (surname I cannot recall) and another person who was there briefly.
“I pointed out the following:
- the harassment from an Attorney/Debt collector was totally unacceptable
- that their use of NAEDO (Non Authenticated Early Debit Order) system to scan client accounts and to “grab” money without authorised debit order was unacceptable and, in my view, unconstitutional……
“Mr Cilliers response was “I will give you R100 000 to go away”.
Lapping claims that a few days later, his credit card and overdraft account were closed and the bank gave him R3,500 which he collected. “It was agreed that the balance of the R100 000 would be paid when my divorce finalised,” affidavit continues.
Years later when the divorce went through, Lapping informed FNB and he was invited to a meeting with Celliers and Dawn Smith and arrangements were made to have the property which he shared with his wife be transferred in his name and a bond of R155000 was opened for him even though he didn’t have a job. “Quite good for someone with no job, income, etc,” the affidavit reads.
The outstanding amount on Lapping’s bond was R125,000 and days after the bond account was opened “a mysterious amount of R150,000” was deposited into the account leaving him with R30,000 in credit, which was collected to him.
Threat to reinstate the amount owed if Lapping speaks to anyone
Transfer fees to the tune of around R7000 were also paid by FNB. In an email of 26 July 2011, Smith, FNB’s Legal Manager, confirms the amounts FNB will pay but warns Lapping that “should you lodge a complaint on any forum or medium or contact any other person beside Vincent or myself, then these costs plus the capital haircut (capital haircut of R100K) will be added back to your bond account and you will be liable for the full amount”.
In a statement sent to UnCensored, FNB said it refutes the allegations of wrongdoing: “FNB strongly refutes the allegations that it has acted improperly. As a normal course of business, FNB encourages customers to engage with the bank when they are in distress and unable to make their financial commitments”.
South African Police Case
Niemand has since opened a criminal case against Celliers and Lapping at the Johannesburg Central police station. Lapping’s lawyers in their letter write: “That you published these false and injurious allegations not only through the use of publicly displayed billboards and social media but also through contacting inter alia numerous journalists and even recording a formal complaint with the SAPS based on these defamatory and false allegations.”
The Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane has never responded to questions sent to him by UnCensored.