Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

THE JSE has publicly censured Huge Group’s financial director, Dave Deetlefs, for breaching listings rules by trading in shares during a closed period.

According to the JSE, Mr Deetlefs breached the JSE rules that state a director may not deal in any securities of the company during a closed period, and at any time when he is in a possession of price-sensitive information in relation to those securities, or otherwise where clearance to the deal is not given.

Mr Deetlef’s acquisition of 47,174 Huge Group shares took place in November 2013.

"The JSE felt that a public censure was the most appropriate sanction under the circumstances for the breach of the listings requirements," said Andre Visser, JSE head of issuer regulation.

It is not clear why it took the JSE two years to finalise the investigation and issue a ruling.

The transaction was also investigated by the Financial Services Board (FSB), which made its ruling in 2014, and fined Mr Deetlefs R14,152, two times the deemed unrealised profit.

Mr Deetlefs further agreed to pay the costs of the investigation.

Huge Group’s CEO, James Herbst, said the breach by Mr Deetlefs was "unintended. It was a complete oversight on his part."

Mr Herbst said Mr Deetlefs was fulfilling an obligation to the company to acquire the shares in terms of a share/bonus incentive.

"When he was given the instruction and when he received clearance to trade, he was not in a closed period and he was not in possession of price-sensitive information," Mr Herbst said.

"Unfortunately, price-sensitive information came into his possession thereafter, and he failed to withdraw from the process he was following in terms of his aforesaid obligation.

"This was an innocent oversight and the FSB recognised this. In any event, it was a technical breach. Mr Deetlefs admitted to the breach," Mr Herbst said.

Last week, the JSE issued a similar ruling on Steinhoff International director Thierry Guibert for failing timeously to disclose R20.6m in share disposals.

The trades, made in April last year, came to the attention of the company secretary only five months later.