It was a strategy to rescue Independent Newspapers – Sam Sole (amaBhungane)

Independent Newspapers head Iqbal Surve. Picture: Facebook

(Also read the following Daily Maverick article: A’yo goin’ down, Dr Survé?)

The PIC commission of inquiry has already cast doubt on the decision to invest R4.3 billion in pension money in Iqbal Survé’s Ayo Technology Solutions.

It’s only just begun; Survé is in trouble, said senior investigative journalist Sam Sole (amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism) in a Daily Maverick article on Wednesday.

The PIC’s head of internal audit, Lufuno Nemagovhani, confirmed that the Ayo deal involved blatant flouting of governance and approval processes.

The PIC paid R43 per share, whereas the value of the company by net asset value totalled a mere 15 cents a share.

Ayo, said Sole, bought influential supporters at the expense of the PIC.

Last week when interviewed by Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show, Dr Dennis George, General Secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa), praised Ayo where he’s been a non-executive director since 20 August 2018.

George proposed that Ayo was doing well and that listeners should invest.

What George did not disclose, according to Sole, was that Fedusa was one of the unions cut into a pre-listing deal in which they were gifted millions of Ayo shares at a price of R1.50 per share – while the PIC paid R43 per share.

George also appears to have benefitted personally, according to Sole.

Whitfield interviewed Sole.

He also spoke to United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, who wants the entire PIC board suspended.

Listen to the interviews in the audio below (and scroll down for quotes from it).

It’s very nice that the reporting we did… has proved to be almost 100% accurate.

Sam Sole, amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

The decision… was forced through… there was no negotiation over the price… All the things we wrote and were insulted for by Independent Newspapers was repeated by somebody from within the PIC…

Sam Sole, amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

This wasn’t a commercially rational deal… it was a strategy to rescue Independent Newspapers… it’s only because of leaks and media reporting last year that it didn’t happen...

Sam Sole, amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

This is such a huge pot of money… it has a huge political impact. We don’t want to swop one set of vultures for another…

Sam Sole, amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

There seems to be a defiance campaign by the board of the PIC… We see a campaign to smear the Deputy Minister of Finance…

Bantu Holomisa, UDM

What is needed is to ask the management of PIC to give us a list of the transactions that were approved by the board…

Bantu Holomisa, UDM

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