NTT Ltd is suing its former global CEO, Jason Goodall, in the UK, alleging he had a secret financial interest in a Johannesburg deal that was meant to improve the black economic empowerment rating of the company’s South African arm, Dimension Data.
Goodall in 2019 approved the sale of Dimension Data’s sprawling headquarters in Johannesburg suburbs at “significantly less” value to a majority black women-owned fund, Identity Fund Managers, in which he had either already invested or at least had a plan in place to invest, NTT alleged in the suit.
“Goodall and the other executives’ conduct in arranging and acquiring their interests in the Identity Fund and concealing and failing to disclose those interests amounts to gross misconduct involving dishonesty,” NTT’s lawyers said in the court filing.
Neither Goodall nor Identity Fund responded to messages left for comment. A spokesman for NTT and Dimension Data confirmed that legal action was being taken in the UK and South Africa, declining to comment further.
Goodall’s “fraudulent misrepresentation” means he should repay the US$17.6-million (R305-million) he received as part of his retirement package in 2021, argued NTT and Dimension Data. On 18 January, the UK high court allowed NTT to serve Goodall the court documents, initiating the formalities for the case to proceed.
Dimension Data, South Africa’s biggest listed technology stock before a 2010 buyout by NTT, decided to sell its Johannesburg headquarters for the twin purpose of selling assets unrelated to its core business and improving its BEE rating, according to NTT’s court filing.
The Campus was bought by Identity Fund for R1.4-billion in 2019. The deal is now in the early stages of being unwound, NTT’s lawyers said in the suit. Dimension Data has separately sued other officials of the company for the alleged graft. — Upmanyu Trivedi, with Loni Prinsloo, (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP