Jappie Nhlapo, the director who made fronting and money laundering claims against top retail sports group Cross Trainer and its director Mark Frames has been suspended, in a new twist to the saga.
It emerged that Nhlapo was summoned to a meeting on Thursday last week by Cross Trainer’s human resources manager Sharon Pillay, during which he was informed of the company’s decision to put him on ice.
At the same meeting, according to officials at the company, Nhlapo was also asked to hand over the company car, credit card, petrol card and laptop.
According to a leaked internal memo to staff members dated October 15, Pillay warned staff members against interacting with Nhlapo, while breaking the news of his suspension.
In the letter Pillay states that all employees who reported to Nhlapo must cease to do so, and should end contact with him, or they would be disciplined.
Internal documents show that Nhlapo was being charged with harassment after claims were levelled against him by a colleague four years ago, including of a confrontation between him and another area manager.
Sunday World this month reported that Nhlapo opened a case of fraud, fronting and money laundering against Cross Trainer andFrame, alleging that they used him as a front and to launder R1-million.
In his police affidavit, Nhlapo said he had been a director and shareholder of Cross Trainer Airport for years but that he never benefited financially in the form of profits or dividends directors are usually awarded. He said he only received a normal salary and annual increase.
Nhlapo also asked the police to investigate allegations of money laundering. He said Frames sent him R1-million and later asked him to send it to his account in the UK.
Nhlapo also stated that Frames had used another Joburg-based company to launder R1.8-million.
The police confirmed that the case was registered but said it was transferred to the Hawks for investigation.
Nhlapo’s lawyers Gwebu Attorneys wrote to the company informing it that its decision was unlawful and was in retaliation for Nhlapo’s claims against the company, which amounts to victimisation.
“Under the circumstances, the suspension is unlawful and your client is requested to retract and uplift same by close of business on October 20 2020, failing which our client reserves the right to take legal action to protect his rights and at the same time seek punitive cost orders against your client,” reads the letter sent to Cross Trainer’s lawyers leaked by employees.
Mahlatse Gwebu confirmed that Nhlapo was suspended but said that they were challenging the decision because there was no basis for it and there are no allegations that are being investigated against his client.
HR manager Pillay, who wrote Nhlapo’s suspension letter, said: “It’s an internal matter and I won’t be able to comment.”