The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has distanced itself from any notion that it is working with Ayo Technology Solutions to oppose a compliance notice issued by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) instructing it to retrieve the R4.3-billion it invested in Ayo.
“Both the PIC and CIPC are aligned in terms of the need for PIC to recover any losses it may have suffered in relation to its investment in Ayo,” the state asset manager said in a statement released late on Sunday.
The PIC statement was in response to several articles by Independent Media which implied that the PIC was working with Ayo to have the CIPC’s compliance notice set aside.
The PIC paid an overinflated fee of R43 per share for a 29% stake in Ayo, a company linked to Independent Media owner Iqbal Surve, when it made its debut on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in December 2017.
Testimony before the PIC commission, headed by Judge Lex Mpati, has revealed how former chief executive Dan Matjila overlooked governance and approval processes and signed of the deal despite concerns raised by employees that Ayo was overpriced and had no business merit.
In setting the record straight the PIC said it has applied to the North Gauteng High Court to have the notice set aside, not because it does not want to recoup the money, but because it does not want to be in breach of the CIPC’s tight deadline. The notice, once issued, can only be amended or set aside by a court of law or the tribunal.
“PIC and CIPC agree that the deadline set by CIPC in its compliance notice, which ends on 14 March 2019, does not give PIC sufficient time within which to undertake the necessary legal steps to implement the recovery of any losses it may have suffered in relation to the Ayo transaction.
“The correct circumstances are that by the time the CIPC issued its Compliance Notice on 21 February 2019, the PIC, together with its attorneys of record Gwina Attorneys Inc and its Counsel were already working on the recovery process… which they are still engaged with,” said the PIC.
Ayo made a separate application to have the motion set aside on March 8, the PIC said it does not “support the Ayo Application and is not collaborating with Ayo in any shape or form”.
Last week the commission heard testimony from two former IT executives who implicated former chief executive Daniel Matjila and acting chief executive Matshepo More in their untimely departures from the PIC.
Luyanda Ntuane and Vuyokazi Menye both received settlement agreements which they both claim were signed after they were worn down from fighting bogus disciplinary investigations that were conducted against them.
The hearings continue this week, with witnesses identities set to be revealed as they testify.