Outgoing CEO of the Moti Group Zunaid Moti has confirmed that he will be stepping aside from the role to make way for its incoming leader: former director general of National Treasury Dondo Mogajane.
Moti, who has been leading the group for almost two decades, attributed his departure to the reputational damage caused by his arrest in Germany in 2018.
According to Moti, the arrest and the controversy that emanated from it have limited his ability to add value to the company.
“While I have a clear criminal record as I have never been found guilty of any of the ludicrous accusations made against me, as a business leader, I am big enough to say that the assertions have impacted my family, the businesses, and to a large extent, my life,” Moti said in a statement on Wednesday.
“My time steering the Moti Group has come to an end, and I have completely handed over the reins to Dondo Mogajane, a highly reputable and respected financial leader who will be guiding the business forward as I start a new chapter and spend more time on my passion projects.”
Mogajane was appointed as the new CEO of the Moti Group of companies in June 2022. Earlier that year he had informed Treasury that he would not be renewing his employment contract with the department when it fell due in June 2022.
According to Moti, between the time that he was revealed as the incoming CEO and now, Mogajane has been studying the group’s operations and offering “his expertise in compliance, financial management and his abilities as a macro-level thinker.”
“Mogajane has already begun the process of transforming the group’s operations, introducing more formal corporate structures such as an independent board, strengthening its corporate governance controls, and restructuring the business,” the group added.
Moti was arrested in Germany in August 2018, after Russian authorities issued a notice accusing him of defrauding a Russian businessman. Reports of Moti’s arrest at the time also included his alleged theft of a pink diamond worth about R500 million at the time.
“It was alleged that Moti and his father sold an apartment in Dubai to these proxies, took money in cash as a deposit in Russia, fled Russia and never gave the “purchasers” transfer of the Dubai apartment and never returned the money,” the group noted.
“This fictitious charge of fraud and theft against Moti and his father led to them being the subject of a Diffusion Notice to Interpol by the Russian authorities, which at the time of his arrest he wasn’t aware of.”
In 2019, the business tycoon was released from detention in Germany and returned to South Africa after an arrest warrant issued by Russia was allegedly cancelled.
Moti noted that he has his sights set on his chrome mining operations in Zimbabwe, African Chrome Fields, as well as his philanthropic ventures in Southern Africa.
“I am confident that Dondo’s leadership will not just play an important role in the development and growth of Moti Group, but I believe that he will also influence and inspire my children should they wish to make their entrepreneurial mark in the business,” he said.
“I have exciting plans for African Chrome Fields, including 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. They will help me in my new projects and create sustainable businesses that can help economies grow to give the people of this continent workable solutions that will benefit them too,” he added.