PIC to investigate acting head, two directors after fresh allegations

State asset manager the Public Investment Corporation announced on Wednesday that it would investigate "allegations of impropriety" against its acting chief executive officer and two non-executive directors. 

In a statement the PIC said that its board held a special meeting on Tuesday evening after receiving an e-mail from an anonymous whistle-blower.

The whistle-blower implicated two non-executive directors of the corporation's board and its acting chief executive officer Matshepo More, the PIC said. 

Following the recusal of the three affected board members, the board meeting was chaired by the Deputy Chairperson, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi.

"At the meeting, it was resolved to immediately conduct a forensic investigation into these allegations. The board will engage the services of an experienced senior counsel to assist the board with the said investigation," the board said in a statement. 

The PIC did not say what allegations the whistle-blower had made. It did also not say whether it would consider placing the three board members on suspension while the forensic investigation takes place. 

On Tuesday during testimony at the commission of inquiry into the PIC, a former board member said the asset manager would be better off without the country’s deputy finance minister chairing its board because it inadvertently exposes the continent’s biggest money manager to the perception of political interference. 

The PIC, which invests more than R2trn in government pension and other social funds, “can still be held to account by treasury through the rigorous oversight that National Treasury already provides over its financial performance, without having a serving politician on the board,” former Non-Executive Director Claudia Manning told the commission. 

Manning also said the PIC got it wrong when it decided to invest in embattled retailer Steinhoff, whose share price has plunged by over 90% since December 2017. 

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