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Half of Makate’s payout for Please Call Me idea to be kept in a trust‚ court rules

Nkosana Makate

 

Half of the payout that Please Call Me inventor Nkosana Makate will receive from Vodacom should be kept in a trust pending the outcome of an arbitration.

The arbitration‚ which is yet to be set down‚ is to resolve a dispute between Makate and Christiaan Schoeman‚ who claims that he and his company Raining Men paid for Makate’s legal fees when he took the cellular phone giant to court for using his “please call me” idea without compensating him as per an oral agreement he had reached with the company’s director of product development.

Schoeman says he and other funders are planning to sue Makate for paying his legal fees.

Makate‚ however‚ claims in his affidavit submitted to court that Schoeman had only paid R2.4 million for his legal fees.

He said he agreed to a reduced 53% cut of any settlement from Vodacom‚ but Schoeman failed to deliver on his promises.

The former Vodacom employee said he cancelled their agreement in January 2015 and did not accept Schoeman’s proposal for new funding.

On Tuesday‚ Schoeman and his company Raining Men filed an urgent application to interdict and restrain Makate’s lawyers Umika Gopichund (UG) from representing him in the negotiations that were ordered by the Constitutional Court in April.

The Constitutional Court ordered Vodacom to commence negotiations with Makate to determine a reasonable compensation payable to him in terms of an agreement Makate entered with the company’s then director of product development.

North Gauteng High Court Judge Neil Tuchten on Tuesday ordered that half of the money Makate is to receive from Vodacom be kept in a trust.

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He also postponed Schoeman’s application in order to determine a “just and equitable costs order”.

“Pending the final outcome of the arbitration proceedings‚ the 50% of any payment made to Makate by Vodacom pursuant to the negotiations mandated by the Constitutional Court be held in the trust account of Umika Gopichund (UG) attorneys‚” Tuchten ruled.

Umika Gopichund’s credentials were at the centre of Schoeman’s application.

His lawyer Nazeer Cassim SC told the court that according to the Law Society of the Northern Cape‚ the firm was only established in May.

“…it would appear that UG attorneys is a special purpose vehicle created at the instance of Makate to hold the funds in trust‚” Cassim argued.

Judge Tuchten‚ however‚ found that Makate was at liberty to choose any legal representative.

“It is declared that Makate has the exclusive right to choose any person to represent him in the negotiations with Vodacom‚” the court found.

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1 comment

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