The board of AYO Technology Solutions says it has resolved to sue the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) for damages against the company, “which are anticipated to be in the billions”.
“The board has taken this step as it has had enough of the raft of allegations based on hearsay and incorrect facts that have been seeded to the market via a rampaging propaganda war delivered through much of the South African media,” the group said in a statement on Thursday (30 May).
Then-deputy minister of finance in South Africa, Mondli Gungubele testifying at the commission of PIC inquiry earlier this year, said that a decision to invest R4.3 billion in AYO flouted PIC governance and approval processes.
In its statement on Thursday, AYO claimed that comments by officials at the PIC has caused reputational damage to the company.
“The regrettable comments made by PIC chairman, Mr Mondli Gungubele, and various other officials of the PIC that are now permeating the public domain, have severely damaged the reputation of AYO. In so doing, the PIC has prejudiced the business of AYO, and its own investment into the company.
“Further, the conduct of the PIC and former executives of AYO, who recently testified at the PIC Commission of Inquiry, has resulted in AYO facing substantial difficulties in concluding transactions and in going about its business in an unhindered manner. This has significantly prejudiced AYO, its employees, customers, shareholders, advisors and business relationships,” it said.
The company said that its board listened to representations from various executives, “and concluded there is absolutely no evidence to suggest anything wrong doing on the company’s part”.
“On the contrary, the PIC chairman and officials have in numerous public forums, made remarks about AYO based on their own internal processes, which have nothing to do with AYO.”
It said that as a result of the allegations and comments, AYO’s key relationships with customers, partners, suppliers and other important stakeholders have all been negatively affected.
AYO also challenged the PIC to approach the courts if it believes the company to be in the wrong.
“AYO urges the PIC to use due process to put its case to the test and not try the company through the media and public forums. AYO welcomes the opportunity to defend itself and remains confident the outcome would be in AYO’s favour,” its statement read.