Intriguing new twist in Province liquidation saga

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 14:26
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NEWS: The secrecy surrounding the removal of a liquidator from the Western Province bankruptcy saga has cast an even darker cloud over the entire process.

It has come to light that the Master of the High Court has removed one of the liquidators of WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd.

Christopher Peter van Zyl, of Mazars, has been removed from all matters in which he was previously appointed as liquidator - with effect from 31 August 2017.

Van Zyl was the preferred liquidator of the union and of Remgro Sports Investments (Pty) Ltd.

rugby365 is in possession of a letter and certificate - issued by Master of the High Court Cape Town - in which they confirmed the removal of Van Zyl from the matter.

The revelation comes amid the ongoing secrecy regarding the intentions of the Western Province Rugby Football Union with respect to the Newlands stadium.

This comes at a time when Aerios and WP Rugby are in a legal stand-off in the Section 417 enquiry into the liquidation of WP Rugby in December last year.

Aerios CEO Costas Constantinou questioned why the removal of Van Zyl of Mazars was kept secret.

The Master's decision to remove Van Zyl from office in all matters in which he had been appointed as liquidator is now the subject of a pending High Court review application.

It begs a couple of questions in regards to the ongoing Section 417 enquiry.

Does this mean he can be subpoenaed, because there were issues around the value of WP Rugby assets?

Also, what was his role in the under-evaluation?

The Aerios boss, Constantinou, said he found secrecy surrounding the news of Van Zyl's removal from office as "disconcerting".

He asked why neither WP Rugby nor Remgro saw fit to advise the supporters and sponsors of Western Province of the removal by the Master of their preferred liquidator - who had taken the lead role in administering the affairs of Western Province Rugby (Pty) Ltd.

"Not even Aerios, as a proven creditor of Western Province Rugby, had been advised of Van Zyl's removal from office," Constantinou said.

"This only came to our attention through informal communications with persons other than the representatives of the Union, Remgro and/or Western Province Rugby.  

"It, of course, begs the question: 'What else has the Union and Remgro been hiding from us?'," he asked.

Constantinou confirmed that he will continue to investigate the manner in which the affairs of Western Province Rugby have been managed in order to lift the veil of secrecy which has prevailed over the affairs of Western Province Rugby under the leadership of its President, Thelo Wakefield.

It is just the latest in the legal battle between the two groups - Aerios and WP Rugby - that started last year and has a price tag of ZAR270-million.

In September Aerios filed the criminal charges against the directors and CEO of the liquidated company, WP Rugby.

It is obvious Aerios is in for the long haul and the WPRU's already battered reputation is set to take a few more hits.

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com