Telkom CEO Wanted to Deal With CFO Alleged Misconduct ‘Quietly’

Telkom SA SOC Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Sipho Maseko said he would have preferred not to probe allegations of misconduct against the phone company’s suspended Chief Financial Officer Jacques Schindehutte.

“If we were not listed no one would know about this, we would have managed it pretty quietly,” Maseko said of the CFO’s alleged malpractice in an interview. “It started off as a whistle-blowing, which the company then duly investigated. I, for one, wasn’t keen to investigate it.”

Africa’s largest fixed-line operator suspended Schindehutte on Oct. 24 following the outcome of an investigation into unspecified allegations made against him. The Pretoria-based company gave the CFO a 6 million-rand ($555,000) loan to buy shares in the company while he was being probed for misconduct. Schindehutte declined to comment today by telephone.

Telkom, which is 40 percent owned by South Africa’s government, may fire almost a third of its workforce as it seeks to cut costs and revive revenues, Maseko said. The company has held talks with Comcast Corp., Bertelsmann SE, Naspers Ltd. and Netflix Ltd. about using Telkom’s fixed-line networks to deliver media content.

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