The man who instigated the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) probe into SAA Chairperson Dudu Myeni is former SAA CEO Monwabisi Kalawe who was facing a litany of charges at the time of his departure from the airline in 2014. Lawyers for Myeni revealed this information at the Companies Tribunal into claims that she misrepresented information to the then Minister of Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba.
The story begins with the failed efforts by Kalawe and self-confessed former spy, Paul O Sullivan, to unseat Myeni. The two were found to have forged bank statements that showed Myeni had bank accounts abroad with money which they alleged were kick backs from tenders to procure aircrafts.
In a raid on O’Sullivan’s home in April of 2015, following his demands for Myeni to vacate her position, computers, documents and cellphones were seized. It was discovered the bank statements and accounts were forgeries.
In a twist to the story, O Sullivan then laid charges of fraud and forgery against a third party – Mogale City COO Abednego Mbulawa, who the former spy alleged was the source of the forged documents. It was discovered that Kalawe had deposited R150 000 into Mbulawa’s bank account which he (Mbulawa) said had been for consultancy work he did for Kalawe and not to pay-off the sources who gave him the forged documents.
All three appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrates Court last year on charges of fraud, extortion, intimidation and uttering.
Kalawe was suspended in 2013. In a protracted legal case, he failed in his bid to stop his disciplinary hearing and to overturn his suspension in the Labour Court.
Advocate Cassim SC, at the time, urged SAA and Kalawe to resolve the terms of the latter’s departure from the airline as the relationship had irretrievably broken down.
Kalawe left with a hefty handshake and was able to avoid answering the litany of charges against him which including corruption, maladministration and flouting the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). Bloomberg, at the time of his departure, reported that he had allegedly used company equipment to record colleagues in his fight against claims of sexual harassment and that he had an affair with a colleague.
In his affidavit to the Labour Court, Kalawe said the breakdown in relations between him and Myeni was over the purchase of 23 wide body jets and plans to implement an existing contract for a fleet of new medium range A320 Airbus aircraft.
The request for proposal (RFP) of the 23 wide-body aircrafts he claimed in his affidavit, was made by his predecessor Nico Bezuidenhout, who he alleged had done so without board approval.
In relation to the A320 Airbus transaction he said the board approved the leasing of ten of these using Pembroke Financial Services as the financiers. Myeni he states, wanted only two of these to be leased through the financiers.
Kalawe then instigated this witch hunt which ended with the fabrication of forged documents as “proof” that Myeni had objected to the leases because she got kickbacks.
In the meantime, Myeni, wrote to Gigaba informing him of the board’s decision to lease only two. This was not the board’s resolution. This triggered a complaint to the CIPC which it was revealed yesterday was instigated by Kalawe. In November last year she appeared before the Commission to explain herself and she has repeatedly denied she deliberately misinformed Gigaba. She has argued that once she noticed her mistake, she rectified the matter with a follow-up letter to the Minister. She was issued with a compliance notice which her lawyers want expunged from her record as a director. That hearing was yesterday. The Companies Tribunal has reserved its decision.