A secret recording has revealed how Iqbal Survé discussed with board members of Ayo Technology Solutions to withhold information from the Public Investment Corp (PIC) after it invested R4.3 billion of government pension money in the company.
This is according to an article in the Sunday Times, and comes amid an inquiry into the governance of the fund manager.
The board and senior PIC executives have been accused of irregularities in a deal with Ayo, in which Survé’s Sekunjalo Investment Holdings is a significant shareholder.
The inquiry has heard that the deal in question, in which PIC took all of Ayo Technology Solutions’ R4.3 billion private placement of shares in December 2017, was flagged for potentially having flouted processes.
This was found in a routine audit of the Pretoria-based fund manager’s listed investments in May. The PIC’s investment valued Ayo at R14.8 billion even though its assets were estimated at R292 million.
In the recording, released by the Sunday Times, Survé is heard plotting with board members of Ayo to withhold information about a major transaction.
The PIC, the Sunday paper reported, was misled into believing that its investment in Ayo would enable the tech firm to acquire a 30% stake in British Telecoms SA for R1 billion.
In the recording, Survé is heard admitting that he withheld information from the PIC, while trying to coerce then-CEO, Kevin Hardy, to lie to the PIC.
“Survé wanted Hardy to tell the PIC that the BT deal was still on the table, even though Ayo had already written to BT to inform them that the deal was off,” the Sunday Times said.
It said that Survé admitted to having addressed the Ayo board over the PIC’s concerns, ‘to clear the confusion around whether the BT deal was still happening or not’, but denied that he deliberately tried to mislead the PIC.
“I said the PIC was upset at the time that there was even a suggestion they did not want to do it [the BT deal]. I remember subsequently castigating Kevin Hardy for conveying the wrong impression that the PIC did not want to do this transaction,” Survé told the Sunday Times.