Kenneth Makate has sued his former funders, Raining Men Trade, for fraud and is fighting the company’s claim to a share of his settlement with Vodacom, the Sunday Times has reported.
Raining Men Trade was reportedly placed into business rescue this year after not receiving payment from Makate.
The company helped bankroll Makate’s court case against Vodacom which sought compensation for his “invention” of the Please Call Me product offered by the mobile operator.
According to the report, Raining Men Trade originally told Makate to accept no less than R650 million in compensation from Vodacom, but has now changed its mind and advised him to accept the R49 million recently offered by the network.
Raining Men Trade director Chris Schoeman stated that the company was entitled to half of Makate’s settlement amount, but his refusal to accept Vodacom’s deal has left the company stranded financially.
Schoeman added that Raining Men Trade would apply to join the latest court case between Vodacom and Makate, and argue that Makate should accept Vodacom’s offer.
Makate claims that the agreement with Raining Men Trade for it to receive a share of the settlement amount was cancelled after his case failed in the high court, however.
The company claims the agreement still holds due to updated terms which states that the contract cannot be annulled.
This agreement also contains Makate’s signature, which he said was forged, stated the report.
Please Call Me
The fight between Makate and his former funders comes after he told Vodacom he would not accept the “reasonable compensation” amount he was set to receive , as determined by its CEO.
It was reported to be R49 million. The amount was payment to Makate for his role in the network launching its Please Call Me service, which Makate said he invented.
Vodacom recently debunked Makate’s claims that he invented the Please Call Me, though, by admitting that MTN had patented the original Call Me idea in 2001, with the operator launching a carbon copy of MTN’s service later in that year.
MTN immediately notified Vodacom that it was infringing on its Call Me patent.
While there were a few heated exchanges between the two companies, MTN decided to not to enforce its patent rights.
The legal dispute between the two companies was reportedly dropped due to the influence of the Rembrandt Group, following which MTN withdrew their representation.
MTN recently told MyBroadband that it is no longer involved in the Please Call Me issue, and its original decision to drop the patent infringement lawsuit was due to reservations about entering drawn-out litigation.
The full story surrounding the invention of the Please Call Me can be found in great detail here.