To BEE or not to BEE ... businesswoman's shares sold to her for R1
But company still uses her name as shareholder for BEE points
A Johannesburg-based consultancy firm is under investigation after allegations emerged that it fired its BEE partner, bought her shares for R1 − and still uses her name as director and shareholder for BEE points.
Kempton Park-based Faith Nkosi has reported the company LifeAssist to the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) commission.
This, she claimed, was after the company dismissed her as a director, withheld financial reports of the company from her as a shareholder and later paid her R1 for her 29.88% shares in the company.The company has denied claims that it kept information from Nkosi. Instead, it accused her of absconding from a shareholders’ meeting held in December 2017 where her directorship was to be discussed.
According to their website, Life Assist provides health awareness programmes to corporate companies, including education on HIV/Aids, retirement training preparation and financial counselling. They provide services to 13 African countries including Angola, Zambia and Botswana.In a sworn statement to the commission, the mother and grandmother of three said she co-founded the original company, Trauma Assist, with a partner, Aubrey Pieterse, in 2001. Seven years later they merged with LifeAssist and she kept her then 26% shares in the company and her position as an on-site health-screening director. Pieterse retained 23% of shares and the remaining 51% remained with the Life Sense Group Pty Ltd.
The commission confirmed to Times Select it was investigating the matter, but would not divulge any more details.
“When Aubrey resigned and sold his shares in 2008, I purchased 3.88% of his shares, to bring my shares to 29.88%. At the time each share was valued at R29 500.“Through out the years from 2008 to 2016 there has never a shareholders’ meeting or an AGM. Dividends were only declared in 2015 which were never paid out to me to date. The amount (dividends) was over R300,000 of which deductions were made without my consent after my dismissal,” read part of her sworn statement to the commission.
Nkosi told Times Select the company dismissed her in January 2016, after she was accused of making discriminatory remarks against a foreign national applying for a job.The matter was settled at the CCMA later that year and it was agreed that the company and herself would appoint an independent auditor to evaluate her shares.
The company’s chairperson, Angus Rowe, said an independent Saica (SA Institute of Chartered Accountants) evaluator was appointed and Nkosi’s shares were valued at nil, after which the company purchased them for R1 in the same month.Nkosi, however, believes her shares were worth more than R1.“I do not believe that my shares were worth this little, if they were calculated from the date I helped to start the company to the time we were at the CCMA. To make matters worse, the company has still listed me as a director and their recent BEE certificate still has my 29.88% shares,” Nkosi claimed.
“But I am not getting any financial statement, correspondence or anything that says I’m still in the company. Why use my name yet you’re not giving me anything?“If I was provided with the company’s financials I would have an idea of what my shares were worth. Our agreement with the CCMA was to appoint an independent auditor that is chosen by both the company and me but that didn’t happen,” said Nkosi.
She has been fighting for years to have her shares and dividends paid out but the company refused.
“It is only now that I threatened to take them to the media and the commission that they seem willing to pay my dividends which were declared at R300,000 in 2008. This has caused me a lot of stress. I lost everything trying to fight them.“Talking to you now, I don’t have a car, not even a place to stay. I’ve developed heart problems, something that I didn’t have in the past. I used to love what I was doing but at 59 years no one will ever employ me. If I was paid what was due to me at the time, I wouldn’t have been here,” said Nkosi.
A company search last week still listed Nkosi as a director.
On March 22 they also still listed their BEE certificate on their website, indicating, without naming her, that a black female owned 29.88% shares. This certificate, which has since since been removed from the website, was issued for the period between March 18 2016 and March 17 2017.
In response to this, Rowe said they were not aware of this, as the website was managed by an outside company.