The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) is demanding that the company owned by its suspended chief executive hands over its profits as the company’s services were derived from the use of the regulator’s intellectual property.
According to the summons issued to Nkululeko Poya and his company, Umtongata Propriety Limited, Poya established the company last year and that its website stated its services included “contract and project management, regulatory framework management and railway engineering management”.
The combined summons, issued on Monday, further details how the company’s website stated that the sole director, Poya, had recently worked at the agency as chief executive officer, “where he regulated more than 250 railway operations”.
The regulator argues that Poya’s consultancy firm’s offering services related to the services concerned, as well as him describing himself as having worked at RSR as CEO, although he was still employed, was wrongful and in breach of his contractual, statutory and fiduciary duties to the regulator.
According to the letter of demand, by establishing the firm and offering the services, without notice to or permission from the transport minister, Poya wrongly and intentionally used the intellectual property obtained through his employment for his and company’s financial interest.
He was in breach of the confidentiality he owes the regulator, the letter of demand, which The Citizen has seen, stated, and that Poya used and continued to use and exploit the knowledge, resources, experience, knowhow, and information obtained through his position.
The regulator further laments that Poya has breached the trust, faith, confidence and loyalty shown to him by RSR and acted contrary to and in breach of his fiduciary duties.
“Consequently, and particular as a result of [Poya’s] failure to uphold his fiduciary duties to the [RSR], [Poya] and [Umtongata] are liable to disgorge all profits received from contract and project management, regulatory framework, management and railway engineering management over a period February 28, 2018 to date,” the summons said.
Poya yesterday confirmed receipt of the summons but refused to comment as it was a pending legal matter. Not a stranger to controversy, Poya, who has led the Regulator since 2011, was alleged to have spied on board members after his initial suspension.
He was also alleged to have spied on a journalist to uncover her sources after discovering that Mail & Guardian journalist Athandiwe Saba was probing Poya’s involvement in a scam in which RSR’s equipment was used to deliver ANC T-shirts.
Poya is on suspension on a slew of misconduct charges, including allegations that he commissioned private investigations into current and former board members, as well as Saba.
He is also reportedly charged with gross misconduct for delaying the granting of a safety permit for the Bombela Operating Company which manages the Gautrain, irregular human resource practices and failing to monitor the RSR’s office lease agreement. Poya has failed in the Labour Court to have the charges set aside.