Jacques Schindehutte, the suspended Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Telkom who took out an interest-free loan of R6 million from the company last year, has been ordered to pay back the money by his employer.
Schindehutte was suspended from the company last October, following separate allegations of misconduct for which he is currently being investigated. Telkom has issued a press statement today which says that the loan, which was issued without proper approval by the board, is in effect “null and void”.
Schindehutte has repeatedly told press agencies that the loan was approved by senior staff at Telkom. The press statement from Telkom, however, says that:
He was actively involved in the processing of this loan and personally oversaw the advancement of the payment of the loan amount to himself.
As a director of the Company, and having now been advised that the loan was void, the CFO has a fiduciary duty to repay the loan to the company. We are confident that Mr Schindehütte will act in the best interests of the Company
and repay the loan.
Curiously, Telkom issued the statement as part of a lengthy release berating Bloomberg reporter Chris Spillane, who broke the story earlier today based on a conversation with Schindehutte apparently before the company had sent him its own prepared statement. Despite agreeing with the essential facts of Spillane’s story, the company describes publishing the article without waiting for Telkom to have its say as “unprofessional” and “dismaying”.
Spillane reported on the same issue earlier this week, quoting Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko as saying that he would rather have dealt with Schindehutte “quietly”, and that he “wasn’t keen to investigate it”.