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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Controversial businessman Zunaid Moti steps down as CEO of his firm

Moti said the group is ready to enter the next stage of its "evolution as it seeks to grow to become a major player


Controversial South African businessman Zunaid Moti, the founder of the Moti Group of companies, has stepped away from his business to make way for Dondo Mogajane, the new CEO of the organisation.

The Moti Group said Mogajane, who was appointed as CEO in June last year, and Zunaid’s son – executive chairman Mikaeel Moti – would lead the firm going forward.

Arrest

Zunaid was arrested at Munich airport in Germany on 19 August 2018, when he was leaving the country after a business trip based on charges against him and his father Abbas Moti.

The arrest was connected to a “red notice” after a complaint was lodged against him by Russian businessman Alibek Issaev.

Abbas at the time said that, as he understood it, his son was facing extradition to Russia to face criminal charges.

Moti was accused of defrauding Issaev out of several million rand in an alleged bogus mining deal. The alleged incident took place in Lebanon in 2013.

He is also accused of stealing a rare R500-million pink diamond.

ALSO READ: Walls closing in for Zunaid Moti behind bars in Munich

Exonerated

Ultimately, the charges against Moti and his father were withdrawn and Interpol issued them with clearance certificates.

Commenting on his decision to leave the business, Moti said the group is ready to enter the next stage of its “evolution as it seeks to grow to become a major player on the African and international stage”.

“Unfortunately, the damage that has been done to my reputation over the years by various criminal allegations has meant that the value I am able to add to the management and growth of the company has become limited.”

Moti said the next chapter in his plans includes finalising the construction of a high-tech aluminothermic factory.

“Uplifting young entrepreneurs is part of my drive to give them an opportunity to find innovative ways to solve traditional business problems,” he said.

Questionable deal

Earlier this year, Moti’s former legal adviser, who was believed to have knowledge of an allegedly questionable deal, was arrested at Durban’s King Shaka Airport as he was about to board an international flight. He was reportedly fleeing the country, fearing for his life.

Clinton van Niekerk was arrested on a warrant apparently issued in Sandton.

The charge was “theft of information”, apparently laid against him by Moti in November last year.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa expresses ‘displeasure’ after using  Moti’s private jet for official trip – report

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