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Liberator Germaniae
Saturday, March 3rd, 2007, 10:47 PM
Dirty war over Mandela millions

Wisani wa ka Ngobeni, Dumisane Lubisi and Dominic Mahlangu
25 February 2007

Startling claims of tax dodges and foreign accounts

SOUTH Africa’s top lawyers are fighting a dirty court battle over former President Nelson Mandela’s millions.

At the centre of the war is the whereabouts of R2.2-million from the R18-million Nelson Mandela Trust.

The money was raised by Mandela from top businessmen, including the Oppenheimer family, for the benefit of his children and grandchildren after his death.

Businesses that also donated to the trust include Absa, Nedcor, FirstRand, MTN, Sanlam, Barloworld, Investec and Venfin. They each donated R1-million. Businessmen Tokyo Sexwale and Mzi Khumalo also donated R1-million each.

On one side of the battle are George Bizos and Wim Trengove, who say Mandela’s former lawyer, Ismail Ayob, bought cars and paid hundreds of thousands of rands to his own companies.

On the other side is Ayob, who has made claims that Mandela refused to pay taxes and approved the dodgy payments.

Bizos, Trengove and Ayob were all trustees of the Nelson Mandela Trust. Ayob was removed from the trust in 2005 after a court battle over the unauthorised sale of Mandela artworks.

Bizos and Trengove, who still represent Mandela on the trust, set the scene for an epic legal battle last month, filing notice for hearing in the Johannesburg High Court for their lawsuit against Ayob. The case is set to be heard on Tuesday.

The court papers reveal that Trengove and Ayob exchanged angry letters for more than two years about the financial affairs of the Mandela trust.

Trengove had sought answers from Ayob about payments that had been made out of the trust without the knowledge of the other trustees.

In one of the letters to Trengove, Ayob claimed Mandela had expected to receive R50-million from businesses for his trust.

Ayob described how Mandela was so irritated by his inability to raise the full R50-million that he “made direct and numerous telephonic entreaties to these donors”.

Mandela, Ayob claims, on one occasion tried to persuade the Oppenheimer family to pay the R50-million into the trust or collect it from their own companies and from other donors.

Ayob also described how some of the donors appeared “extremely reluctant to make donations” and others “sought to impose specific and different conditions on their donations”.

Ayob took a swipe at Trengove, saying he was surprised that Mandela had not told him and Bizos of “his aggravation at his inability to raise the full R50-million”.

Trengove hit back at Ayob, asking him why he had made payments out of the trust “without our authority”.

In response, Ayob upped the stakes by making claims against the former President.

Ayob questioned Trengove’s claim that he was “astounded” that payments had been made from the trust. Ayob asked whether Trengove was astonished by Mandela’s refusal “to pay a single tax on the massive royalties he received flowing from the nine powers of attorney he furnished to Iqbal Meer in London for the proceeds of Long Walk to Freedom”.

He said that the proceeds were still held “unlawfully in secret bank accounts abroad”.

Trengove and Bizos maintain that Ayob made the payments without their knowledge.

Ayob was a trustee of the trust along with Trengove and Bizos before he was booted out in 2005, following a bitter court battle with Mandela the same year over the selling of artworks connected to the elder statesman.

In the same year, the Johannesburg High Court also ordered Ayob and art publisher Ross Calder to stop selling the artworks.

In an affidavit, Trengove claims Ayob made “disbursements of more than R1.2-million and distributions of R700 000 from the trust’s bank account” without consulting the other trustees.

“Apart from his lack of authority, the disbursements appear to have been ... improper. The first is that most of the payments were made for expenditure incurred by or for the benefit of other people and not the trust.

“A significant portion of the expenditure moreover appears to have been paid to Mr Ayob himself and his businesses. They involved a serious conflict of interest,” Trengove said.

Trengove wants the court to force Ayob to “reimburse the trust for the unauthorised and unlawful expenditure of its funds and the loss caused thereby”.

Ayob has denied any wrongdoing and he is defending the court action.

Contacted yesterday about Ayob’s allegations of wrongdoing by Mandela, Trengove told the Sunday Times: “Ayob has a bitter feud with Mandela and he will not let any opportunity go by to try and embarrass him. All the taxes have been paid and everything has been cleared. There is no difficulty at all.”



Source (http://www.sundaytimes.co.za/PrintEdition/Article.aspx?id=395414)

Liberator Germaniae
Monday, March 5th, 2007, 08:13 AM
Lawyer agrees to repay Mandela Trust

Johannesburg, South Africa

04 March 2007 09:40

Nelson Mandela's former lawyer Ismail Ayob said that he agreed to repay money to the Nelson Mandela Trust because he does not have the money for a court battle, weekend newspapers reported.

The Saturday Star quoted him as saying: "I don't have a war chest of R20-million of other people's money to fight an action forever. I have to raise every cent myself. I settled because I don't have the ability to sustain a long trial with senior counsel on both sides."

He also reportedly told 702 radio talk show host John Robbie that Mandela's lawyer George Bizos engaged in a whispering campaign against him.

"He's called me a fraudster, he's called me a criminal, he's sent people around saying I must be socially ostracised," he was quoted as saying. - Sapa



Source (http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=300890&area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national/)