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PetroSA targets Majali estate: report

Dec 29 2010 10:03 I-Net Bridge

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Johannesburg - State oil and gas firm PetroSA plans to recover millions of rands owed to it by the late businessman Sandi Majali, the New Age newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing company spokesperson Thabo Mabaso.

Majali was found dead in a Sandton hotel room on the weekend.

"The only option remaining for PetroSA in its bid to recoup the money it says it is owed, is to claim from the estate, which is believed to be worth millions of rands," the report said.

Mabaso confirmed to the newspaper that there was still a dispute between PetroSA and Majali's company, Imvume Management.

"But he declined to provide details about the dispute on the basis that it was sub judice."

Majali's lawyer John Ngcebetsha said there was an arrangement in place between PetroSA and Majali regarding the payment of the late businessman's debt.

Asked how Majali could pay his debts when he had applied for his company's liquidation, Ngcebetsha told the newspaper: "This was a voluntary liquidation and it could be done for two main reasons: to have money to pay your debts, or because you intend to diversify into other forms of business. In this case, the latter reason applies."

Majali, it is believed, still owed PetroSA more than R5m from the R15m the company had paid Imvume Management as a down payment for a crude oil supply deal in 2004.

Instead of using the money for the agreed purpose, Imvume allegedly donated R11m to the ruling ANC just before the 2004 general elections.

"The story caused the ANC political embarrassment when it broke a year later."

During the ANC's national conference in Polokwane in 2007, the party's then treasurer general Mendi Msimang told delegates that the party had repaid Imvume's donation because of the dispute around it.

"But yesterday ANC spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi could neither confirm nor deny that the party had paid back the R11m," the report said.

PetroSA and Majali had had confrontations on "numerous occasions".

At some stage PetroSA obtained an execution order to force Imvume to repay the R13.8m it owed, but Imvume had the decision overturned.

The tiff heightened in mid-2007 when Majali alleged that PetroSA had known that the R15m it paid to his company was meant for the ANC.

"He vowed not to pay the remaining amounts he owed to the oil parastatal and threatened to spill the beans, which he said would embarrass a number of high-profile ANC people."

The report said that although Majali "lay low" after Polokwane, he was believed to still be close to top ANC leaders including deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.

"This was despite suspicions that he was sympathetic to Cope."

The report added that Mnisi could not confirm whether Majali was still a member of the party, saying that records in the membership office need to be checked.

However, according to Ngcebetsha, Majali was "a staunch ANC" member.

"I will leave it to the ANC to comment about his role which will date back to the struggle for freedom," Ngcebetsha, who is a Cope leader in Gauteng, told the New Age.
anc  |  petrosa  |  sandile majali
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