The commision of inquiry into impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) heard on Tuesday how the asset manager’s former chief executive, Dan Matjila, did not inform suspended acting CEO, Matshepo More of the R4.3-billion transaction between the PIC and Ayo Technology Solutions
More told the commission that she was left in the dark by Matjila prior to the transaction being signed.
The controversial Ayo deal was concluded in 2017 when the PIC took a 29% stake in the ICT company at R43 a share. Ayo’s share price had fallen to R9 at the close of markets on Tuesday.
More was chief financial officer at the time of the transaction while Matjila was the CEO. She was placed on a precautionary suspension in March after being accused of interfering in the work of the commission chaired by Justice Lex Mpati.
Matjila resigned last November.
More told the Mpati commission she signed off on a “disbursement memo” on December 19 2017, signalling the availability of funds for the transaction. She said at the time the PIC’s main bank account had funds in excess of R5-billion.
She however denied that her signature on the document was for the approval of the transaction but that it was rather to “confirm the availability of funds”.
More said she signed the memo when it was first presented to her because she believed that it had already been approved through a “round robin” resolution by the asset manager’s portfolio management committee (PMC).
“This is because on December 15 2017, at 14:35, the office of the company secretary sent the members (including permanent invitees) of the PMC an email requesting them to peruse the documents and indicate whether they approved or not through a round robin resolution,” she said.
Mpati wanted to know whether More took action when she realised that Matjila had known about the transaction and had not informed her about it. More responded saying that she had not confronted Matjila about the deal despite being the second most senior executive at the PIC.
“I do agree with you that the non-disclosure on December 20, even the non-disclosure to myself signing the memo on December 19 was misrepresentation on the part of Dr Dan Matjila,” she testified.
Asked by Mpati how the PIC could avoid the flouting of investment procedure in the future, More suggested that the scope of assurance providers should be widened to ensure that all due diligence is followed before signing off on agreements.
Thando Maeko is an Adamela Trust business reporter at the Mail & Guardian.