The Kebble saga continues: might Investec’s getaway plans still fall apart?
The devil lay coiled in a small unlisted company.
The world will be a duller place, was Noseweek’s first reaction (in October 2005) to the news that Brett Kebble had been deposed two months earlier as CEO of the three JSE-listed gold companies that he’d headed: JCI, Randgold & Exploration (RGE) and Western Areas.
But on second thoughts, the realisation: Kebble’s departure had opened the way for a closer scrutiny of events.
For example, it had only just been discovered, to the surprise of RGE shareholders, that their company no longer owned a substantial part of its major asset, – 18.4 million shares in Randgold Resources, a London-listed spin-off from RGE. Kebble claimed that 9.9m of those shares (today worth R1 billion or more) had been “lent” to a company called Bookmark… and ended up as cash in the coffers of Western Areas.
Various questions sprang to mind: Why was that “loan” not authorised by RGE shareholders, as required by law? What did RGE get in return? What security was there for the loan? And, if it was a kosher deal, why did Kebble repeatedly misrepresent the situation before his ouster?