The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) has heard a matter in which Emalahleni coal baron Joe Ramesh Singh denies the allegation that he forged documents to push businessman Ralston Smith out of his businesses.

The Star reports Singh – who now owns the multimillion-rand Lahleni Lakes Golf Estate in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga – faces accusations of unfairly ejecting Smith from the business and failing to pay an agreed settlement.

Singh brought the matter to the High Court with a ‘prayer’ that Smith accepts his offer to settle.

Smith was a director of Finishing Touch, Money Box and Lahleni. In court papers, Smith says he lent the three companies a substantial amount of money.

The dispute is over how Smith left the business and whether he agreed to accept a payout of R14.8m.

Singh insists Smith resigned of his own accord and urged him to accept a R14.8m payout, saying it was the value of the money he had advanced the companies.

The report says the matter was adjourned to 16 September, when Judge Ronel Tolmay will hear closing arguments.

Full report in The Star (subscription needed)