Investec hits back at debtor’s forgery claim

Investec Bank has hit back at Andrew Botha, a former director of a company liquidated by the bank, accusing him of manufacturing claims that his signature was forged.

It dubs his allegations a desperate bid to stave off being held personally liable for a debt of R103-million.

The Mail & Guardian reported on July 7 that Botha, a co-founder of the MKB property group, had gone to court to revoke a 2009 debt judgment against him.

Botha claimed he had discovered that his purported signatures on deeds of surety relied on by Investec had been forged. He cited a handwriting expert in support of the allegation.

Botha also claimed that Investec itself was responsible for the company’s financial woes and subsequent liquidation early in 2009 after the bank pulled the plug on its loans to the group. But in replying court papers submitted at the end of July, Investec’s global risk manager, Kieran Whelan, dismissed the allegations.

In his affidavit, Whelan asks the court to “examine Botha’s motives for making these highly defamatory allegations against Investec more than 27 months after the application was instituted against him and after he had on a number of occasions admitted having signed the six deeds of suretyship”.

In his affidavit, Whelan cites three sworn statements to refute the forgery claims: from lawyer Susan Cross, who dealt with the MKB account for Investec’s attorneys; from Annabelle Currie, an Investec employee who was the consultant for the MKB account; and from Bonita Penny, Botha’s personal assistant at the time.

Second witness

Penny states in her affidavit that the signatures on the deeds were Botha’s. “Once Botha had checked the documents, he would sign them and I would witness them. After Botha had signed the documents, he would hand them back to me to witness and to obtain a second witness.”

Penny continues: “I would never have returned deeds of suretyship to [Investec] which had not been signed by Botha and properly witnessed.”

Cross states that she signed one of the surety documents as the second witness because the document had not been witnessed by two people. “I witnessed this deed of suretyship because I knew and recognised Botha’s signature.”

Cross states that originally both Botha and his partner Jonathan Killik would sign documents at her offices where she was “able to ensure that the signatories and witnesses signed on the correct place on all of the relevant documentation”.

But, she says, during 2007, “Botha and Killik refused to attend our offices to sign and insisted that all documents for signature be delivered to their offices.”

Cross states Botha instructed her to send all such documents to Penny, who would ensure they were returned once they had been signed by Botha or Killik.

Investec has countered Botha’s forgery expert, Johannes Hattingh, with three handwriting analysts of its own, “all of whom confirm that the disputed signatures are those of Botha”.

* Got a tip-off for us about this story? Email [email protected]

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit initiative to develop investigative journalism in the public interest, produced this story. All views are ours. See for all our stories, activities and sources of funding.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sally Evans
Guest Author

Related stories

​How to invest offshore

It’s best to consult a professional financial advisor when investing offshore

Lenders allow Jooste more time to pay up

Lenders and other creditors have now agreed that Markus Jooste has until March 2019 to repay his debts without interest

Return of the irrepressible Bra X

This, an interview with radio personality Xolani Gwala, is the first in a series of profiles that will be a regular feature in the M&G

Titans face off in banks case

Before the court battle over rand-rigging begins, the tribunal must settle a number of preliminary skirmishes

Forex hearings: Competition Commission accused of being ‘vexatious and unreasonable’

After numerous pre-hearings, the matter is finally being heard, well over a year after the Competition Commission referred the case to the tribunal

Investec bleeds R220m from Steinhoff exposure

Steinhoff shares have plunged more than 95% since it reported irregularities in its accounts in December, valuing the business at about R8.85-billion

Subscribers only

FNB dragged into bribery claims

Allegations of bribery against the bank’s chief executive, Jacques Celliers, thrown up in a separate court case

Dozens of birds and bats perish in extreme heat in...

In a single day, temperatures in northern KwaZulu-Natal climbed to a lethal 45°C, causing a mass die-off of birds and bats

More top stories

North West premier goes off the rails

Supra Mahumapelo ally Job Mokgoro’s defiance of party orders exposes further rifts in the ANC

Construction sites are a ‘death trap’

Four children died at Pretoria sites in just two weeks, but companies deny they’re to blame

Why the Big Fish escape the justice net

The small fish get caught. Jails are used to control the poor and disorderly and deflect attention from the crimes of the rich and powerful.

Koko claims bias before Zondo commission

In a lawyer’s letter, the former Eskom chief executive says the commission is not being fair to him

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…