Former deputy finance minister Jabu Moleketi has dismissed as "hurtful and damaging" allegations by UDM leader Bantu Holomisa that he used his links with the Public Investment Corporation to gain access to the coffers of the state-owned asset manager.
Moleketi served as PIC chairperson from 2004 until his resignation as deputy minister in September 2008. He is now the chairman of Harith General Partners and a non-executive director at Lebashe Investment Group.
He was testifying on Tuesday at the judicial commission of inquiry into the PIC, which is investigating allegations of wrongdoing at Africa's largest asset manager.
Holomisa has repeatedly claimed that former PIC executives had easy access to funding once they left the corporation, describing the arrangement as a potential conflict of interest. The UDM leader has referred to Lebashe Investment Group, Harith Fund Managers and Harith General Partners in his testimony.
The PIC has a 46% stake in Harith Fund Managers, and in 2006 extended seed capital of R17m for the establishment of the firm, which Moleketi says has since been paid in full.
Moleketi is also a non-executive director at Lebashe.
Not a 'PIC operative'
"The establishment of Lebashe occurred eight years after I resigned as deputy finance minister," he said on Tuesday. "My involvement in Lebashe has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with my earlier position in government or in either Harith entities," he said.
In submission two weeks ago, Holomisa argued that there was a need for closer scrutiny of the relationship between the companies and the PIC.
"I deny and take exception to the description of being a 'PIC operative' that Mr Holomisa has assigned to me and others," said Moleketi, adding that claims by Holomisa that the PIC investment in Harith exposed pensioners to unnecessary risk were false.
"All of these allegations are extremely hurtful and damaging to me."
Instead, Moleketi said the PIC had "benefited handsomely" from its association with Harith.
Daniel Berger, SC, who is representing Moleketi, previously told the commission that Harith Fund Managers was set up in 2007 to manage the investments of the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund. Harith General Partners, meanwhile, was established a few years later to raise money for a second fund, the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund 2.