The telecommunications operator says in a statement that the loan was granted in a manner that was “inconsistent with the provisions of the Companies Act, making the transaction null and void”.
Schindehütte was suspended last October after allegations of “personal misconduct” were levelled against him by a whistle-blower. Neither Telkom nor Schindehütte have disclosed the exact nature of the allegations, although the latter has consistently denied that there was any link between the suspension and the R6m loan, which was used to purchase shares on 30 September.
Schindehütte told TechCentral at the time that both the loan agreement and the subsequent purchase of R6m worth of Telkom shares had the approval of both Telkom chairman Jabu Mabuza and CEO Sipho Maseko.
But now Telkom says that the board “cannot and did not ratify the granting of the loan”.
“Telkom therefore has an obligation to claim the loan back in order to rectify the situation,” it says in the statement.
“By virtue of his position as chief financial officer of Telkom, Schindehütte has oversight responsibility for compliance and corporate governance, including for the regulatory and/or administrative processes relating to the provision of loans to directors at Telkom,” it says.
“He was actively involved in the processing of this loan and personally oversaw the advancement of the payment of the loan amount to himself,” the statement continues.
“As a director of the company, and having now been advised that the loan was void, the chief financial officer 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.”
Schindehütte could not immediately be reached on his mobile phone for comment, but according to a report on wire agency Bloomberg, he has agreed to repay the loan immediately.
“I’ve now been told that the company was unable to ratify the loan as they had indicated to the market and I’ve been called upon to repay the loan,” he is quoted as saying. “I will do that forthwith.” — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media