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Alexkor: ‘no due diligence carried out’ on Gupta-linked company



The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture this week heard allegations that the former boss of the Northern Cape diamond mine partnered by state-owned Alexkor lied to forensic auditors about carrying out due diligence on Gupta-linked Scarlet Sky Investments (SSI).


The former executive director of Gobodo Forensics, Albert Torres testified before Deputy Justice, Raymond Zondo, that the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Pooling and Sharing Joint Venture (PSJV) formed between Alexkor SOC and the Richtersveld Mining Company (RMC) Mervyn Carstens, maintained throughout the forensic investigation that he carried out due diligence on SSI before the contract came into effect in March 2015. Torres went on to say that PSJV Company Secretary, Raygen Phillips, later conceded that this was not the case.

Phillips has alluded to this being a lie, telling the South African that she will be forwarding a supplementary affidavit to the commission on this and other misrepresentations made on Friday, 8 January 2021.


Torres has gone on to say that SSI appeared to be a shelf company when it submitted its tender to market and sell diamonds to the PSJV tender board. Furthermore, SSI reportedly did not have a diamond trading licence up until they roped in Daniel Nathan as a director – Nathan’s company, which is now known as the Alexander Bay Diamond Company did have a trading licence beforehand. The directors of SSI were later found to include Kubentheran Moodley who is a Gupta-linked affiliate who assisted in Trillian in their endeavours previously.


Meanwhile based off of the Gobodo report, SSI’s marketing and sales contract has been terminated. However legal documents reveal the company – represented by Hector North Inc Attorneys – is in the process of challenging the termination.

A letter from the firms states “the agreement entered into by and between you and our client on 6 October 2016 remains of full force and effect and our client requires compliance with the terms of the agreement. Your conduct is unlawful and the agreement has not been lawfully terminated and remains binding”. 


A second witness disgruntled contractor Gavin Craythorne told the Commission on Friday that when he began probing SSI due to the low return on the sale of diamonds mined by them, PSJV management – including Carstens – allegedly ostracised him, denied him access to the PSJV and later slapped him with a series of defamation suits.


No mention was made during the Zondo Commission of Carstens’ recent victory at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) which found that the PSJV board and the administrator Lloyd Mcpatie, erred in suspending Carstens in early 2020. In the award CCMA Commissioner Chitane Soza, says Alexkor failed to adhere to its own disciplinary code when suspending Carstens and did not afford the PSJV boss an opportunity to defend the allegations made against him by Craythorne and company.

The CEO says nothing was communicated to him regarding disciplinary proceedings, prior to the date of his suspension. In fact, he was only notified of his suspension while representing the PSJV at the Mining Ndaba in Cape Town in early February 2020.

As a result Soza found in favour of Carstens and determined that he needed to be remunerated over R 3,2 million which is the equivalent to a year’s salary.


The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) confirms the PSJV has forcibly laid off 56 more mineworkers, whilst eight opted for voluntary severance packages and cut their losses with the highly indebted mine during the festive season. This is in addition to the 190 workers retrenched in 2019, some of whom are yet to receive their retrenchment packages. The Department of Public Enterprises and Alexkor are yet to comment on the retrenchments despite queries being sent in December 2020.

NUM Western Cape Regional Secretary Siso Fisa has lamented the state of affairs at PSJV, adding that NUM is worried about the “swinging economic activity in the Northern Cape and the mining areas in particular”. Fisa said NUM has relayed their concerns to the DPE and Minister Pravin Gordhan but to date, the department has not intervened to save the sinking ship that is the mine.

To this end, however, NUM is in the process of launching court action against the PSJV, Alexkor and DPE over a separate issue that has a bearing over the retrenchments. Fisa has declined to get into the exact details of the matter, but the former Company Secretary of PSJV, Raygen Phillips has shed some light on the issue.

When Phillips stepped down from her role as the PSJV company secretary on 24 August 2020, she maintained in her resignation letter that the mine joint board was not properly constituted therefore rendering all decisions made by the board – including the retrenchments – unlawful. The mine joint board is supposed to be made up of three members of the Richtersveld Mining Company (RMC) and three non-executive directors of Alexkor.

She reveals in the resignation letter, that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Alexkor, Lemogang Pitsoe had been appointed as the interim PSJV CEO in early 2020 and went further to appoint himself as Chairperson of the joint board. The latter appointment can only be made by Minister Pravin Gordhan says Phillips. She delves further into the issues at hand in her August 2020 resignation letter.

In this regard we have obtained two legal opinions from Senior Counsel advising that only the Minister of Public Enterprises can appoint the Chairperson of the JB. This after an attempt by the Alexkor CEO in March 2020, Mr Pitso to appoint himself as the Chairperson of the JB and Alexkor Financial Manager as representatives for Alexkor on the Joint Board. Senior Counsel advised that in terms of the Alexkor MOI the Alexkor representatives needed to be non-executive directors of Alexkor for an appointment to the joint board.

Former PSJV Company Secretary Raygen Phillips.

Fisa has not given any indication as to when their court bid will sit. Protection Status

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Tehran International Short Film Festival winners introduced



Tehran International Short Film Festival winners introduced

Addressing the gathering, the festival director Sadeq Mousavi thanked the event’s organizers, as well as the Iranian artists and filmmakers who sent about 1700 short films to the secretariat of the event

Iran is top 10 short films producers

Addressing the same gathering, Head of the Cultural and Social Commission of the Islamic Council of Tehran, Mohammad Javad Haghshenas, said: “We have been dealing with the Covid-19 disease for more than a year and many jobs and professions have been damaged, including the people of culture and art.”
Haghshenas said that Iran is one of the top 10 producers of short films in the world.

He added that the Iranian Youth Cinema Association is one of the oldest cinema schools in the world and organizes national and international festivals. 
In the meantime, Deputy Minister of Health Iraj HaririchiI thanked the festival’s organizers for commemorating martyrs of health, adding that dedicating a section for health is appreciated. 

Covid-19 Prize Category 

The award for best film in the “Covid 19” category went to “Shahab Abroshan” for “Ansins”.

Also in the continuation of this ceremony, the prizes of the short film study conference were awarded. The third prize went to “Mohsen Rahnama”, the second prize went to “Parisa Hosseinzadeh” and the first prize went to “Ahmad Khoshnit”.

ISFA Medal

The ISFA Medal was awarded by Elham Hosseinzadeh, President of the Iranian Short Film Association (ISFA). 

While appreciating the film “Dakal” directed by “Babak Mostafavi”, the “ISFA” medal for “Innovation in theme and creativity in the presentation of the film” Fear Shifts “directed by” Iman Salehi “.” ISFA “commendation plaque was also awarded to “Mahsa Samani”, the director of “Habub” animation, and was presented by “Maryam Kashkolinia”.

Addressing the same gathering, Head of Cinema Organization Hossein Entezami said:” When a phenomenon dominates the world, two paths can be taken; one is to shut everything down, and the other is to experience bio-coronation and move on with it. This festival took the second way and I have to thank my colleagues.”

Commemorating ceremony of Amir Lotfian

The next part of the ceremony was dedicated to the veteran photographer and filmmaker Amir Lotfian.

In this section, “Ahmad Masjed Jamei”, a member of the Islamic Council of Tehran, said, “In Mr. Lotfian’s collection of photographs, I saw photography which conveyed a lot of joy during the hard and difficult years of the 60’s. I thank the doctors for their support of this festival, but of course, the cinema has lost great people during this period, whose memory we cherish. I hope we continue to see short filmmakers shine at home and abroad.”

International Competition Awards

Iranian director Behnam Behzadi, Italian Director Lia Beltrami, as well as Planning Manager of Busan Film Festival Kyeongyeon, are slated to judge the films in this section of the festival.

The Best International Documentary Award went to “Kak Iraj” by Jamshid Farjondfarda from Iran. The director of this film presented this award to the medical staff.

The award for best animated short film went to “Candela” co-directed by Marc Riba and Anna Solanas from Spain.

The award for best short fiction film went to “DAYIE or Good Night” directed by Anthony Netty from Ghana.
National Competition Awards

The jury members of the “National Competition Section were: “Mohammad Mehdi Asqarpour”, “Mohammad Reza Delpak”, “Nasser Saffarian”, “Ismail Monsef”, “Bahram Tavakoli”, “Rohollah Hejazi”, “Roqayeh Tavakoli”, “Ashkan Rahgozar” and “Hamid-Reza Lotfian” cast their votes as follows:

In the Best Cinematography category, the festival statuette and the cash prize for the best cinematography were awarded to “Vahid Beyoteh” for the feature film “Gabriel”.

“Leila Mir Nasiri” was awarded the Diploma of Honor for Best Innovation for his role in “Nahid”.

The best editing award went to “Babak Bahrambeigi” for editing the short film “Bloody Children”.

In the best sound section, the festival statue and a cash prize were awarded to “Mohammad Hossein Mehrjoo” and “Mohammad Kashfi” for the sound of the feature film “Khonab”.

The award for the best research in the documentary was given to “Fereshteh Tavakoli” for “Forough Kooche Bonbast”. 

In the best screenplay adaptation category, the festival statue and a cash prize were awarded to “Mohammad Reza Moradi” for “Dual Pa”.

In the category of the best screenplay, the festival statuette and a cash prize were awarded to “Samad Alizadeh” for the feature film “Nahid”.

The best animation director award went to “Mona Abdullah Shahi” for “Red Fire”.

The Best Documentary Director Award went to “Arman Gholipour Dashtaki” for “Bloody Children”

The award for best director of experimental film went to “Kamal Kachouian” for “Adapt”.

The Best Feature Film Award went to “Mahyar Mandegar” for “Winged White Horse”.

The special jury award went to “Iman Salehi” for “Overcoming Fear”.

The award for best film in Iranian cinema went to “Hamid Reza Zubair” for production of “Winged White Horse”.

The grand prize of the festival in the international section was awarded to “Reza Fahimi” for the short film “Sefidpoosh” from Iran.

Presided by Sadeq Mousavi, the event which inaugurated on Jan 15, in physical and online formats in Iran Mall cinema hall was wrapped up on Jan 25.

In this year edition, over 4,986 foreign and 1,700 Iranian short films were submitted to different sections of the festival.

In the meantime, 146 Iranian films are competing in the national sections of the event which include feature, documentary, experimental and animation.


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Tributes paid to ‘kind’ doctor who may be first GP to die with Covid-19



Tributes have been paid to a long-serving doctor in Dublin, who may be the first general practitioner (GP) to die with Covid-19 if his death is officially attributed to the virus.

The Irish Times reports that Paul McDermott (57) from Rathfarnham treated patients from his surgery on Glendoher Road for more than 20 years.

Mr McDermott tested positive for Covid-19 after his sudden death at home in early January.

Deaths are counted as Covid-19 deaths if confirmed by a positive test, or if the virus played a role in a person’s death in the opinion of a medical practitioner.

Mr McDermott’s family are currently waiting for the result of a postmortem.

His brother, Ray, said Mr McDermott had been treating patients with Covid-19 in the weeks before he died.

‘Warm, witty and compassionate’

Hundreds have paid tribute to Dr McDermott online, including former patients, colleagues and friends.

One former patient said “he was more than a family doctor, he was a friend and confidant, irrespective of how busy it was”.

Another described him as “kind, loyal, warm, witty and compassionate”.

The GP comes from a family tradition of practising medicine, with his mother Sarah MacAuley opening a GP surgery in Rathfarnham in the late 1960s.

“Paul, along with my mother, worked for many years in the community; she for 50 years now, and he for over 20,” his brother Ray McDermott, who is an oncologist, said.


‘No shame’ in contracting Covid-19 amid soaring tr…

Ms MacAuley, who is now in her 90s, continued to work alongside her late son until recently, Ray added.

According to official figures, 11 healthcare workers have so far died with Covid-19.

Among the most recent healthcare worker deaths are Mariter Tarugo, a healthcare assistant at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin; and Bernie McAndrew, a nurse in Belmullet, Co Mayo.

More than 6,800 healthcare workers have been infected with Covid-19 since Christmas — one in 10 of all positive cases.

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Tamko la Rais Magufuli kuhusu magonjwa ya mlipuko



Rais wa Tanzania Dkt John Magufuli amesema licha ya uwepo wa magonjwa ya mlipuko kama Corona lakini watanzania hatutajifungia.

Rais Magufuli ameyasema hayo leo Januari 27, 2021 alipokuwa akizindua shamba la miti la Chato lililopo wilayani Chato mkoani Geita.

”Nchi nyingi wamejifungia ndani, Watanzania hatujajifungia na hatutegemei kujifungia na wala sitegemei kutangaza kwamba tunajifungia ndani kwa sababu Mungu wetu yupo”, amesema Rais Magufuli.

Aidha katika kuchukua tahadhari juu ya magonjwa ya mlipuko, Rais wa Tanzania Dkt John Magufuli amesema watu waendelee kujifukiza na kuomba mungu pamoja na kufanya mazoezi.

“Tutaendelea kuchukua tahadhari za kiafya ikiwemo kujifukiza, huku tukimuomba Mungu, huku unapiga zoezi la kulima mahindi na viazi ili ule vizuri ushibe, Corona ashindwe kuingia kwenye mwili wako, mtatishwa sana lakini simameni imara”, amesema Rais Magufuli.

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