AFU Loses Case Over Gupta Assets

The Guptas and their associates scored a second court victory on Monday when the High Court in Bloemfontein freed assets such as luxury cars, aircraft and properties seized by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU). The assets worth at least R250m were seized in April after the AFU obtained a provisional restraint order in relation to the Estina dairy farm matter.

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Reserve Bank Fines VBS And China Bank

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) said on Tuesday that it had imposed R77.5 million in administrative penalties to two banks for failing to comply with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Act and directed them to take remedial action to address the identified deficiencies. The China Construction Bank Corporation and the embattled VBS Mutual Bank were penalized for not identifying and verifying customers’ details, failing to report certain cash transactions above R24,999.99, not keeping records of customer identification, and inadequate controls pertaining to the reporting of suspicious and unusual transactions.

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160 Million Worth Of Unclaimed FNB Policies

FNB Life has identified over R160m worth of unclaimed policies on its books, it said in a statement on Tuesday. The bank has, therefore, started an initiative to proactively identify customers who have not submitted claims in the past. It wants to track down nominated beneficiaries, family members or the next of kin.

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White Sasol Workers Strike Over Share Scheme

Solidarity, a labor union that represents skilled, mainly white workers, registered a dispute with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, or CCMA, after Sasol introduced benefits that it said would exclude workers based on race. The CCMA ruled that workers at Sasol are allowed to strike over the exclusion of white staff from an employee-shareholding plan.

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Fiat Chrysler Recalls 5.3 Million Cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling more than 5.3 million vehicles in North America over a defect that could prevent drivers from deactivating cruise control. The Italian-American carmaker said no injuries or crashes were related to the large recall campaign, but said it had one report of a US driver of a 2017 Dodge Journey rental car being unable to deactivate the cruise control. Fiat Chrysler, which in 2015 was hit with penalties from US regulators totalling $175million (R2.18billion) for safety lapses, did not say how much the recalls would cost.

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R2.4Billion SA Express Tender Scandal

A virtually unknown music promoter was given a three-year tender to supply SA Express with fuel worth R2.4 billion – but failed to deliver a single drop. This is despite a deal already being in place to receive fuel from South African Airways. SA Express confirmed that its current fuel supply deal with SAA came at an average cost of R45 million a month, thus the dodgy EML Energy deal meant the already troubled airline paid roughly R800 million more than SAA over the three years.

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R1 Billion Crypto Scam Uncovered

The Hawks said Gauteng-based Bitcaw Trading Company, commonly known as BTC Global, was being investigated after more than 28,000 investors suffered losses in a cryptocurrency scam. The company is alleged to have targeted potential investors with promises of 2% interest per day, 14% a week and 50% per month. The Hawks said payments were initially made every Monday but suddenly stopped.

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Court Ruling On Gupta Assets Expected Today

The Bloemfontein High Court on Monday will make a crucial ruling on the state’s successful freezing of R250-million in Gupta assets – and whether prosecutors had enough evidence to justify it. The Guptas’ attorney has confirmed that Varun Gupta, the only family member charged so far in relation to the alleged scam, is back in the country for the ruling. Varun Gupta successfully applied for the right to travel to Dubai for a traditional ceremony. He returned to South Africa over the weekend.

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MTN & Vodacom Fight Over Transnet Tender

Mobile network giants MTN and Vodacom are entangled in a fresh row over a multimillion-rand cell phone and data tender at state-owned freight and rail transport company Transnet. MTN will square off with over Transnet following its refusal to port (switch networks) nearly 13 400 sim cards to Vodacom. The matter is heading to the South Gauteng High Court where MTN will argue that its contract with Transnet is still valid and binding as there is a clause that prevents the state-owned entity from procuring the service from a competitor.

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SARS Releases New Customs Regulations

The South African Revenue Services has released a Customs Requirements for South Africa statement which informs South African travellers about the items that they have to declare when leaving and returning to the country. According to the statement, South Africans that are travelling abroad are not required to declare their personal items when leaving or returning to the country, in terms of customs legislation. In the legislation, personal items are described as personal laptops, cameras or iPad that are are a part of the travellers luggage when they are leaving the country.

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Brazil Truckers Strike Causes Economic Havoc

Sao Paulo, a megacity that’s home to more than 12 million people, declared a state of emergency and warned that shortages caused by the strike may cause a state of public calamity, while export group ABPA said a billion chickens and 20 million swines may die in coming days due to a lack of feed. President Michel Temer said he’s called for the deployment of national security forces to unblock roads and asked governors to do the same. Still, truckers group Abcam – which didn’t take the government’s deal – said the number of highway blockades rose to 521 on Friday from 402 the day prior. Local media reported that drivers continued protesting in at least 14 states. Abcam represents about 700 000 of roughly one million self-employed truck drivers.

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Auditor General Ban Sinks Nkonki

Audit firm Nkonki’s largest office has applied for voluntary liquidation, after the auditor-general’s decision to terminate its contracts with the company scuppered plans by executives to buy out disgraced majority shareholder Mitesh Patel. Nkonki Sunninghill, which employs 180 people, was left with no other option but to voluntarily wind up the company, the firm said in a statement on Monday afternoon issued via its lawyers, Nicqui Galaktiou Inc.

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Brian Molefe Fails To Repay Pension Payments

Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, told Business Day on Monday that Molefe had not adhered to their demand. Molefe’s legal team had only replied in an e-mail stating they would take instructions from him on the matter and get back to the union. But according to Van der Bijl, there has not been any further correspondence. Molefe had sought to have the high court overturn a January ruling by a full bench that ordered him to repay R11m in pension payments unlawfully paid to him by the Eskom Pension Fund.

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ANN7 Rebranded To Afro World View

Mzwanele Manyi, owner of Afrotone Media Holdings, said on Monday ANN7 would change its name to Afro Worldview on April 30. The New Age (TNA) newspaper would be rebranded as Afro Voice and its editorial policy would be in line with the press code. Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments announced in late 2017 its withdrawal from its media interests‚ selling its shareholding in Infinity Media (ANN7) and TNA to Lodidox and management for R450m. Oakbay Investments vendor-financed the deals, essentially lending Manyi the money to buy the businesses.

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Rand Slides Past R12.30 To Dollar

The rand continued its slide during the early hours of Tuesday, weakening to R12.37 to the dollar at about 2.30am before regaining some lost ground to trade at R12.33 at 7am. Reuters reported the dollar set a three-month high against a basket of currencies on Tuesday, having gained a boost as the US 10-year Treasury yield climbed toward the psychologically key 3% level.

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Treasury Working On New Procurement Laws

The bill which is currently with the chief state law advisor for certification aims to overcome the fragmentation in current procurement legislation. Once certified by the state law advisor the bill will be submitted to cabinet and once approved will be published for public comment. When enacted the Public Procurement Bill will repeal the PPPFA in its entirety. With an annual procurement budget of over R900bn, government can be a powerful instrument for achieving economic transformation.

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SA Banks Face Lawsuits Over Steinhoff

The Dutch Investors’ Association (VEB), which launched legal proceedings against Steinhoff International in January, has notified the three banks involved in Steinhoff’s Frankfurt listing that it is holding them liable for damages incurred by Steinhoff shareholders. The move by VEB stems from the role played by Absa, Barclays and Commerzbank in Steinhoff’s listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in November 2015.

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Shoprite And Checkers Will Offer Students 10% Discounts

Shoprite and Checkers announced that registered South African students can get 10% off at any Shoprite and Checkers stores starting next week Wednesday the 25th of April 2018. The student discount is valid for four days per month until the end of October, for all purchases up to a maximum of R1,500.

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Eskom Facing Coal Shortages

Seven Eskom power stations have coal stockpiles that are lower than the levels required‚ Parliament heard on Wednesday. Urgent authorisation had to be obtained from the Treasury to purchase more coal without having to go to tender‚ acting group executive for transmission Willie Majola told members of Parliament’s public enterprises committee. A recovery plan was in place and coal was also being moved from stations that had healthy stockpiles to stations that did not have sufficient stock.

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Andile Mazwai Resigns As Rebosis CEO

Rebosis Property Fund said on Wednesday its CEO, Andile Mazwai, had resigned and the firm would postpone the release of its interim financial results, sending shares down more than 10%. The company said in a statement its current Executive Deputy Chairman Sisa Ngebulana would be appointed as the interim CEO.

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Mark Lamberti Quits As Imperial CEO

Mark Lamberti has resigned as Imperial CEO‚ following an adverse judgment in the case brought by fired employee Adila Chowan‚ whom he called a “female employment equity candidate”. Imperial has promoted its chief financial officer‚ Osman Arbee‚ to succeed Lamberti as CEO on May 1.

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Audi And Porsche Raided Over Emissions Scandal

Porsche is the latest Volkswagen brand to be sucked into the ongoing diesel emissions cheating scandal that first erupted three years ago. German police and prosecutors raided a number of Audi and Porsche properties on Wednesday in search of documents as part of an investigation into two top Porsche executives and one former employee.

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Facebook Data Breach Affected 100,000 South Africans

Facebook has told SA’s information regulator that almost 100,000 people in the country were affected by its data leak — far more than estimated. Last week the information regulator said it would “proactively and voluntarily engage Facebook with regards to the alleged data breach”, and that it would ask the company to clarify the extent of the data leak and to state what corrective measures it was taking. This was after the personal information of about 87-million Facebook users – mostly in the US — was misused by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that obtained the data from a personality app.

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KPMG & Nkonki Fired By Auditor General

The auditor-general’s decision to terminate auditing contracts with KPMG will see the embattled audit firm excluded from doing any work for the country’s most valuable client. The auditor-general has control over auditing contracts that dwarf even the largest private-sector business. This is the first time it has terminated work with one of the big four audit firms. Also terminated is black-owned Nkonki, which has been implicated in Gupta-related controversies.

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Eskom Hits Optimum Coal With R105m Fine

Eskom has issued the Gupta-owned Optimum with a R105m fine for failing to deliver coal, which has spurred a supply shortage at the power utility. As Eskom grappled with the issue, alternative coal producers would benefit from a shortage of coal and come to the rescue of the power utility, as it sought to plug a gap in supplies at several of its stations.

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Bus Strike Causes Havoc

Thousands of commuters will wake up on Wednesday to the nationwide bus strike that is set to kick off at 05:30 while taxi and rail operators are bracing for crowds and long queues. Nationwide bus services such as MyCiTi in Cape Town, Putco, Rea Vaya and Gautrain bus service in Gauteng and Algoa Bus Company in the Port Elizabeth area are among those whose services will be suspended.

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Irregular Health Expenses Soar To R1.02 Billion

The Finance and Fiscal Commission (FFC) has criticised the national Department of Health for not doing more to ensure provincial health departments improve their audit outcomes. While provincial audit outcomes have improved since 2012-13, the pace of improvement has been slow, particularly over the past three years, the FFC’s provincial budget analysis manager Ghalieb Dawood told Parliament on Tuesday.

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Amazon Launches International Shopping

Amazon has launched its International Shopping experience in the Amazon Shopping App. International customers can now “browse and shop over 45 million eligible items that can be shipped to their country from the United States”, said Amazon. Customers can also choose from different shipping options and delivery speeds, depending on how quickly they want their package, it added.

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Cyrils Lions Go Investment Hunting

President Cyril Ramaphosa is hoping a revitalised relationship between business and the government would enable SA to raise $100bn worth of investment over five years. On Monday he announced the appointment of special investment envoys to work at convincing investors of SA’s potential. They are former finance minister Trevor Manuel, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and business representatives Jacko Maree and Phumzile Langeni.

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Molefe In Court To Fight Pension Repayment Order

The High Court in Pretoria is on Tuesday expected to hear arguments in the appeal application brought by former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. Molefe wants the court to overturn a January ruling by the full bench of the court that ordered him to repay R11m in pension payments, which had been unlawfully paid to him by the Eskom Pension Fund.

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Gupta’s Saxonwald Compound Raided Again

The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has moved to seize cars, aircraft and properties worth at least R250m belonging to the Guptas and their associates, allegedly bought with looted state funds. Assets include the Guptas’ elusive Bombardier jet, which landed at Lanseria airport on Friday after Export Development Canada (EDC), the Canadian bank that financed it, went to court to have it grounded.

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VBS’s Audited Statements Withdrawn

In another blow to two of the country’s top four audit firms, the curator of Venda Building Society Mutual Bank, Anoosh Rooplal, has announced the withdrawal of the bank’s 2017 audited financial statements. PwC was the internal auditor and KPMG the external auditor for the 2017 financial statements. Rooplal said the financial statements were withdrawn because “they contain material misstatements and are no longer considered to be reliable”.

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41c Hike Expected In May Petrol Price

On the current data, petrol is set for a rise of 41 cents a litre, diesel 48 cents, and illuminating paraffin 38 cents. In all of these increases, the movement in the exchange rate accounts for just four cents of the rise. Petroleum prices were largely flat in the first week of April, but spiked sharply as tensions escalated in Syria. The Middle East lies near many of the world’s key oil producers, and petroleum prices have historically been sensitive to instability in the region.

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Musks Boring Company Gets Hyperloop Funding

Elon Musk’s Boring Co. raised $113 million in equity to dig tunnels and develop a high-speed transportation system known as the hyperloop. The startup disclosed the investment in a U.S. securities filing on Monday. The financing round included 31 unnamed investors, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission document. More than 90 percent of financing came from Musk, and the rest from early employees, the Boring Co. said, adding that no venture capitalists or outside investors participated.

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Possible Criminal Record For Not Declaring Taxes

Taxpayers who do not submit their tax returns will end up with a criminal record, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) said on Monday. In its statement, the revenue service said it had embarked on a new initiative with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prosecute non-compliant taxpayers, including prominent South Africans, who have failed to submit returns.

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Supra’s Son’s R1.1M Bursary

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo and Denel CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe are facing a backlash over revelations that the premier’s son got a R1.1-million bursary to become a pilot. Rapport newspaper revealed at the weekend that the state-owned armaments company‚ forced recently to borrow money to pay salaries‚ had “bent the rules” to award the bursary. Ntshepe‚ according to the newspaper‚ personally signed the contract. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan described the allegations as serious and asked the newly appointed Denel board to institute an internal investigation

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Anglogold CEO Venkatakrishnan Resigns

CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan has resigned, the company announced on Monday. Venkatakrishnan leaves after 18 years at the company, the last five as CEO, to become chief executive of Vedanta Resources. Vedanta is a London Stock Exchange-listed, diversified natural resources firm, with interests zinc, lead, silver, copper, iron ore, aluminium as well as oil and gas.

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207 US Eggs Recalled Over Massive Salmonella Outbreak

About 207 million eggs supplied by a US farm are being recalled after more than 20 consumers became ill from suspected salmonella poisoning. The eggs from a Rose Acre Farms facility in Hyde County, North Carolina, may be contaminated with a form of salmonella, which can cause serious infection, the US Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.

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IRBA Considers Forcing Audit Firms To Split

The South African audit profession’s watchdog is considering forcing firms to split their audit and advisory arms in an effort to enhance their independence and improve audit quality. With auditors embroiled in a rising number of scandals globally and at home, the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) was weighing up the benefits of creating “audit-only” firms, Irba CEO Bernard Agulhas said.

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Nkonki CEO Quits Over Gupta Scanalds

Nkonki CEO Mitesh Patel resigned this week after amaBhungane revealed that his R107m “management buyout” of the pioneering black auditing firm 18 months ago was funded by Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa. The investigative journalists reported that Patel did not elaborate on his reasons for going‚ but his acting replacement‚ Thuto Masasa‚ said in response to questions: “Mr Patel tendered his resignation as the CEO of Nkonki as a result of very serious and damaging allegations published in the media in particular regarding his relationship with Mr Salim Essa‚ Trillian and Gupta linked entities.”

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Fight Over Grounded Gupta Jet

The Guptas have returned their Bombardier jet to SA after the Canadian bank that financed the aircraft asked the court to hold them in contempt for failing to deliver the aircraft on time. The jet flew from Dubai on Friday and landed at Lanseria Airport. It was handed over for storage to Execujet, a maintenance company contracted by Export Development Canada (EDC), pending the outcome of legal proceedings in SA and the UK. The Guptas had applied for leave to appeal against an order handed down by Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane on March 19 compelling them to return the jet to Lanseria by April 3 or face having it deregistered by the Civil Aviation Authority, which would have meant it could no longer be flown.

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Oil Could Hit $80 A Barrel Over Possible Iran Sanctions

Brent oil could spike to $80 a barrel if the US and European Union reimpose sanctions on Iran – and as Western powers expand the scope of the Syrian civil war. A possible decision in May on Iran sanctions may be the start of a process that maintains low-intensity stress on oil markets that can deliver higher prices and above-average volatility

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