Damning liquidator’s report for Flying King

Damning liquidator’s report for Flying King

MASERU – A liquidator’s report has revealed how Flying King, the troubled vehicle clearing agent, was allegedly looted by senior managers.
The report, sent to creditors on May 5, also shows that the managers were not paying tax on imported vehicles despite collecting such from clients.
The once-popular clearing agency collapsed last year following a bitter dispute between shareholders.

Pillay Kuben, a South African businessman who owns 51 percent of the company, says Joel Mohale and Donald Monethi, the local directors and shareholders, misused the company’s funds.
He also alleged that Mohale had used Flying King’s funds to start a rival company with Monethi. The HMR thrived while Flying King sank in debt.
Pillay filed a High Court application to put the business under judicial management.

Advocate Neil Fraser, who was initially appointed judicial manager, later became the liquidator after discovering that the company was insolvent and could not be rescued. He met the creditors on April 29.
In his report, seen by thepost, Fraser says he has discovered that the company could have been looted until it failed to meet its obligations to customers, suppliers and the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA).

He identified payments to an insurance company, Wimpy, Good Night B&B, school fees and Sun 1 Durban. There were also mobile banking transfers and cash withdrawals. Those transactions were not related to Flying King’s business, he noted. In addition there are 41 cars allegedly purchased but could not be traced.

“The liquidator referred to the types of payments made from the bank account which seem to have been for personal use without proper references such as payments to cellphone numbers, cash withdrawals and lack of proper financial statements,” the report says.
The report confirms the findings of a preliminary audit conducted by Green Bean Chartered Accountants which also indicated the company funds were used for personal benefit and tax was not paid.

Mohale, who was the managing director at the time, has previously denied misusing company funds and instead accuses Pillay of trying to tarnish his name after they fell out.
The report also says there is evidence that the company was not paying VAT.
At the creditor’s meeting, the LRA filed a claim of M946 825 it said the company owed in taxes.

Africa Vehicle Clearing Specialist (Avecs), Pillay’s company, submitted a M1 million invoice for unpaid services.
Pillay claimed M857 000 which he said was due to him in profits as a shareholder.
Six other creditors claimed a combined M420 000 for undelivered vehicles outstanding rentals. This brings the total amount of claims to just over M3 million, a figure that could however increase if other creditors submit their claims.

The liquidator also says his investigation was frustrated because he did not have financial statements.
He says because of incomplete financial records he could not verify the company’s working capital, payments for customer’s vehicles and remittances to the tax authority.

“The liquidator explained that the only way to get a better understanding of the circumstances was to do an audit but there are insufficient funds in the estate to conduct such an audit and can only be done with contributions from creditors,” the reports says. He however says Pillay has agreed to pay for the audit.

Last night Pillay told thepost that the liquidator’s report vindicates his allegations that Mohale mismanaged the company, used its funds to fund his lifestyle and evaded tax.
He said what frustrates him is that instead of going after Mohale, the Ministry of Trade appears to be taking his side, has continued to block vehicle imports from BeForward and is victimising Avecs.
“The fraud and misuse of company resources is clear. The fact that there was tax evasion and undervaluing of invoices is also clear from the report and the preliminary audit report, yet no action is being taken against the directors,” Pillay says.

“This is all public knowledge known to the ministry and the minister. But they still enforce the illegal ban on Avecs and BeForward. There appears to be an effort to protect the directors who cheated and defrauded the company, clients and the tax authority.”

Pillay was referring to the Ministry’s decision to ban BeForward from exporting cars to Lesotho on allegations that the Japanese company has not delivered cars that were bought by Basotho through Flying King.
“The ministry knows that Flying King did not pay BeForward or Avecs. They know who pocketed the money. They know the case is before the courts but they are still blocking BeForward and Avecs from doing business in Lesotho. There is an element of xenophobia as well.”

Staff Reporter

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