Exposed: new Denel chairman's dodgy past

26 July 2015 - 02:00 By STEPHAN HOFSTATTER, MZILIKAZI wa AFRIKA and PIET RAMPEDI

The man appointed to head state arms maker Denel is a disgraced lawyer who was once struck off the roll for dishonesty, incompetence and misappropriation of funds. Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown on Friday announced the appointment of Daniel Mantsha as the new chairman of Denel, which boasts an order book worth R35-billion.Mantsha was struck off the roll of attorneys by Judge Brian Southwood in the High Court in Pretoria in 2007, but readmitted by the same court in 2011.In a scathing ruling, Southwood said Mantsha "was not a fit and proper person to continue to practise as an attorney" and that "his conduct indicates that the public must be protected from him".The court heard that five cheques drawn on his trust account had bounced, he had failed to keep proper accounting records, failed to pay money to his clients on time and misappropriated a client's funds.But Mantsha said the 2011 ruling undid the Southwood judgment."I was readmitted as a fit and proper person to practise," he said."We all travel different paths in life. That part of my journey has come to an end."He said the State Security Agency had granted him clearance.Brown said she was aware of Mantsha's 2007 judgment when she appointed him.story_article_left1"The department has done a background check on all members appointed to the board and the minister was satisfied they met all criteria," her spokesman, Colin Cruywagen, said.Mantsha also serves as a legal adviser to Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.Sources in the ministry say Mantsha raised eyebrows when he allegedly submitted inflated invoices."It was after we received those invoices that we started doing some background checks on him," said one. "I nearly fell off the chair when I found out that this man was struck off the roll."Mantsha countered that these claims were falsehoods peddled by Muthambi's enemies."What they pay me is very little. I'm baffled. If I were to show you the money I receive you would laugh." He declined to divulge how much he was paid.However, another source said: "His shoddy work as the minister's legal adviser speaks for itself."See how he advised her to fire the board without following correct legal channels and advised her on how to protect SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng."..

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