Naspers won’t publish report on ANN7 probe, AGM hears

Naspers will not make publicly available the report on an investigation into alleged payments by MultiChoice to Gupta-owned channel ANN7, shareholders heard on Friday.

Earlier this year MultiChoice had a briefing following the probe, indicating that no irregular payments were made to ANN7. This probe was launched following revelations in the Gupta-leaked emails that Naspers’s video entertainment subsidiary MultiChoice made payments to ANN7, media reported. 

At the annual general meeting on Friday, a shareholder inquired whether Naspers would release the report, and asked chairperson Koos Bekker what his and the company’s stance are on corporate governance.

Group general counsel of Naspers, David Tudor, who answered the question relating to MultiChoice assured that the investigation by the audit and risk committee was “extremely detailed and wide-ranging”, especially given significant time pressures.

As for the publication of the report, Tudor said that it is “privileged and confidential” and Naspers intends to maintain that privilege.

On corporate governance, Bekker said that the company fully supports the King IV code. “Our commitment to King IV is not conditional,” he told shareholders.

Bekker admitted that the company may have “fallen behind” in one respect last year regarding the disclosure of remuneration. “The people who criticised us last year are correct,” he said. Bekker assured that the company is working on improving disclosure and said Naspers respects that shareholders have a legitimate right to ask questions.

He explained that in business you need to play by the rules, but you also need to play effectively to beat the competition, and it is tricky to do both at the same time. When it comes to disclosure, Bekker said that businesses need to make sure that they do not give away “crucial information” which may affect competitiveness – which is why it is important to strike the right balance.

“We are 100% behind governance. As a company we have good governance,” he emphasised. — Fin24

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