/ 9 October 2019

Surve blames Gordhan for raid on offices

Iqbal Survé claimed that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan “is using public resources to fight political battles."
Absa, FNB, Nedbank, Mercantile, Sasfin, Investec, Bidvest and Access Bank have cut ties with Iqbal Survé's companies and Standard Bank has the Sekunjalo Group on review. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)



Chairman of Sekunjalo Holdings, Iqbal Survé has pointed fingers at the minister of public enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, following a raid by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) on the group’s headquarters.

In a video posted on the Business Report website, Survé claimed that Gordhan “is using public resources to fight political battles” because Independent Media, which is a part of Sekunjalo, is soon to publish information on Gordhan, President Cyril Ramaphosa and various other cabinet members.

“It’s Pravin Gordhan behind this. It’s an abuse of regulatory authorities.This is a purely fishing expedition to get information that we have on Pravin Gordhan, on the president and various ministers,” he said.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the FSCA confirmed that it had conducted a search and seizure operation at the Sekunjalo offices in Cape Town. The operation was conducted as part of allegations of “market manipulation” and possible contravention of the Financial Markets Act which prohibits companies from publishing falsified financial statements, the FSCA said.

Survé did not provide any proof in the video of his allegations against Gordhan. He accused the FSCA of obtaining a court order permitting the raid from a judge who is “friends” with the Democratic Alliance and Gordhan.

Continuing with the allegations, Sekunjalo Holdings released a statement on Wednesday on behalf of Surve, claiming that there are “dark forces” behind the raid that have the intention of discrediting the companies that are associated with him. Surve said the FSCA were accompanied by members of the South African Police Services.

“The intruders arrived unannounced and were tasked to confiscate computers and hard drives on the pretext of obtaining evidence of irregular trading of the aforementioned companies as it pertains to Ayo Technology Solutions (PTY) Limited [Ayo].”

The Public Investment Coporation’s (PIC) R4,3-billion investment in Ayo is being investigated by the PIC Commision of Inquiry – chaired by Judge Lex Mpati – as part of suspicious transactions by the state asset manager. Earlier this year, former PIC chief executive Dan Matjila told the inquiry that the PIC’s investment in the firm is still positive despite the asset manager’s R3-billion losses made from the transaction.

The PIC paid an inflated fee of R43 per share for a 29% stake in Ayo, two years ago prior to its listing on the JSE. The company’s shares have plunged to R9 since the signing of the deal. The PIC has since launched a court application to retrieve the money.

Survé has denied any wrongdoing in the matter, telling the inquiry in April that the dealings between the Sekunjalo group, including Ayo and Independent Media, were above board.

In Wednesday’s statement, Surve claimed that the FSCA’s raid is part of an “underhanded attempt” to obtain information that Sekunjalo has relating to the legal case against the PIC and the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).

“There is a huge conflict of interest as the chairman of the Financial Services Board, and the caretaking FSCA commissioner, is Abel Sithole, who is also the principal officer of the GEPF, whose funds the PIC invests,” he said.

The FSCA says the raid was conducted in accordance to the Financial Sector Regulation Act which mandates it to investigate cases of market abuses in the financial markets.

“This is to maintain the integrity of the financial sector by ensuring that all regulated entities, their key individuals and representatives always act in the best interests of the South African consumer,” it said.