Attorney tries to gag protector on ‘dodgy’ pension fund deals
An attorney named in an interim report by the public protector on corruption within the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has launched an urgent application to prevent its release.
Formerly known as the Financial Services Board (FSB), the organisation has been at the centre of public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s corruption, extortion and mismanagement probe since EFF president Julius Malema launched a complaint against the board and its boss, Dube Tshidi, in April 2017.
The investigation stems from an alleged relationship between Tshidi and lawyer Anthony Mostert, and his curatorship of a series of pension funds between 2005 and 2011, allegedly with the agreement of the FSB.
As part of the agreements, Mostert and his law firm were able to negotiate large claims on surplus earnings in the funds, alongside remuneration for legal fees. In one fund, the Sable Industries Pension Fund, he reportedly earned about R122m.
In the EFF’s complaint to the public protector, Malema wrote: “Mr Tshidi … continues to act in a manner which does not serve the interests of the very people that the FSB has been established to protect, namely the members of pension funds.”
Mostert has now launched an application in the High Court in Pretoria to prevent the release of any of the interim findings – which he said negatively implicate him – after notice of their release was sent out this week to relevant parties.
He indicated he will launch an application to reverse the public protector’s decision to investigate the matter at all.
In his founding affidavit, Mostert says the investigation is part of a smear campaign against him, and that the EFF’s complaint was submitted based on false information provided to it.
He also indicated that he had not been given time to provide further information to the office of the public protector pending the finalisation of her report.
His lawyer, Craig Assheton-Smith, said this week: “The allegations of corruption through the FSB have no factual basis whatsoever. Mr Mostert has no personal relationship with Mr Tshidi. Interactions between Mr Mostert and Mr Tshidi have been strictly by virtue of the relationship between the registrar of the pension funds as the regulator of pension funds and those pension funds in respect of which Mr Mostert has been appointed as curator/liquidator in terms of orders of court.”
The public protector would not comment on the urgent application “for legal reasons”.
The EFF’s legal representative, Ian Levitt, dismissed the claim that the party’s complaint was based on false information.
“We asked the public protector to become involved in the public’s interest. It’s yet another indication of the rot of state capture, now in relation to the FSB, ” he said.
FSCA spokesperson Tembisa Marele confirmed the regulator had received notice informing it of the investigation into Tshidi and Mostert.
“We have provided all information requested. It is only once we have received a report from the public protector on this matter that we can provide comment. At this stage, neither the FSCA nor Mr Tshidi will be participating in Mr Mostert’s application.”..