John King, ex-EOH finance chief, dies amid R1.7-billion damages claim

Former EOH chief financial officer John King

John King, the former chief financial officer of EOH Holdings who was being sued by the company for R1.7-billion in damages, has died.

King passed away on 4 October, TechCentral has learnt. It’s understood he died of pneumonia. He was 61.

EOH expressed its condolences to King’s family on his passing.

TechCentral reported in June that EOH was suing King and other former directors – including former CEO Asher Bohbot – for billions of rand in damages for governance lapses when they led the company. It sued King and Bohbot for R1.7-billion each. It filed the civil claims in the high court in Johannesburg for damages inflicted on the group due to their alleged failure to deal effectively with governance breaches and malfeasance that decimated the IT services group’s share price and valuation, and damaged its reputation.

Specifically, EOH sued Bohbot and King on charges of delinquency, breach of fiduciary duties and breach of contract.

EOH also filed papers against former public sector head Jehan Mackay for R1.5-billion. EOH is suing Mackay for a breach of fiduciary duties as well as for allegedly making payments to third parties for no work done. Mackay’s name featured prominently in evidence presented by law firm ENSafrica at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

ENSafrica probe

It also issued a summons against Ebrahim Laher, who served as head of EOH International, for an amount R1.6-billion. He faces claims of negligence and mismanagement.

The civil suits flowed from investigative work done by ENSafrica into corruption in the group’s public sector contracts. The civil litigation was brought with the mandate of EOH’s board of directors.

EOH instructed ENSafrica in 2019 to expand its investigation after TechCentral broke the news in February of that year that Microsoft had terminated its relationship with the local IT services group over a dodgy software licensing contract between EOH unit EOH Mthombo and the South African department of defence. The news sent EOH’s share price into a tailspin from which it still hasn’t recovered. The ENSafrica probe subsequently uncovered evidence of widespread wrongdoing at the group.

EOH said in June that it was pursuing its former top executives through civil proceedings to try to recover as much of the money as possible that was “siphoned out of the business and paid to enterprise development partners and third parties that performed no services whatsoever”. The legal action comes on top of likely criminal proceedings against implicated individuals.  – © 2021 NewsCentral Media

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