Court gags Holomisa over PIC corruption claims
UPDATE: The Pretoria high court granted an order gagging UDM leader Bantu Holomisa from continuing to allege that a major BEE investment firm, Lebashe Investment Group, and prominent business figures may be involved in corruption at the PIC.
On Monday, the Pretoria high court is due to make a decision on an urgent court application to gag United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa from alleging that a major BEE company and prominent business leaders are involved in corruption at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
The firm alleged to be central to the PIC corruption allegations, Lebashe Investment Group, alongside Harith General Partners and former deputy finance minister Jabu Moleketi are a few of the applicants who took Holomisa to court after he wrote President Cyril Ramaphosa an open letter.
In the open letter, Holomisa calls on Ramaphosa to tackle the “iceberg of corruption” at the PIC, where he claims that several individuals and companies have been involved in the looting of the institution.
Lebashe and its co-applicants hope that the court will grant a gag order against Holomisa pending the outcome of their defamation case against him.
In his correspondence to Ramaphosa, Holomisa also uurged him to widen the terms of reference of the probe into state capture to include investigations into the PIC.
Lebashe chief investment officer Warren Wheatley has denied that there is any truth to Holomisa’s claims.
The PIC is a state-owned enterprise that is responsible for nearly R2-trillion in assets, with more than 98% belonging to government or its employees. The assets include the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the Compensation Fund.
The PIC has been dogged by allegations of looting and impropriety and has recently come under fire for its controversial investment in VBS Mutual Bank.
On Friday, Ernest Nesane — a senior PIC executive who served on the board of VBS Bank — resigned after testifying before the investigation into the bank. He left the entity following allegations of impropriety against him.
Nesane had served as one of two directors sent to the troubled bank before it was placed under curatorship by the Reserve Bank in March.
Nesane’s resignation follows the exit of another PIC executive and fellow VBS member, Paul Magula, who was fired in April for poor performance.
Since Magula’s exit, details of payments of hundreds of thousands into his accounts from Vele Investments, which is the biggest shareholder in VBS, have come to light.