The South African black empowerment investment holding company announced on Wednesday that Golding had been suspended, pending a disciplinary enquiry into certain allegations of misconduct by him.
“The alleged misconduct in question was, after deliberation by a special sub-committee mandated by the HCI board, comprising its lead independent non-executive director and the chairpersons of HCI’s Audit Committee and Social and Ethics sub-committees, found to be of a very serious nature warranting disciplinary action,” [DATA HCI:HCI] said.
“Disciplinary proceedings have been instituted and the process is scheduled to proceed on Monday 27 October 2014.”
While the company has not confirmed the nature of the allegations, it's been reported by Bloomberg that Golding was suspended over the purchase of 24 million rand worth of shares in Ellies Holdings, allegedly without authorisation.
“I contend that I acted in good faith in what I at the time believed to be the third respondent’s best interests in purchasing the shares,” Golding reportedly said in the court application, referring to Sabido.
Bloomberg also cited Golding as saying in a court statement that the Ellies transaction involved less than one per cent of Sabido’s revenue.
“It is my understanding of the manner in which we have conducted business in the past that the CEO had discretion to make investment decisions on behalf of the company with the expectation that they would subsequently be ratified,” it reported him saying.
According to HCI, Golding has responded to the process by launching proceedings to uplift his suspension and to stay the disciplinary enquiry, and to seek other relief.
“While HCI respects the right of its employees to take whatever legal steps they deem appropriate in their own defence, HCI will take such steps as are necessary to protect its interests,” it said.
“HCI intends opposing the said application.”
However, the company emphasised the fact that the nature of the alleged misconduct by Golding, whilst serious in nature, is unlikely to adversely affect the operations of the company, or materially affect its financial performance.
“As soon as circumstances permit, a further announcement will be issued by the company,” HCI said.
HCI has a 41 per cent stake in [DATA TSH:Tsogo Investment Holdings], which operates South African hotel and casino group, Tsogo Sun.
It also has a 63 per cent stake in Sabido Investments (Proprietary) Limited, which grew out of the success of eTV, where Golding is the CEO, and later launched South Africa’s first 24-hour television news channel, the eNews channel.