The Public Investment Corporation has hit back at Iqbal Survé, the chairperson of investment holding company Sekunjalo, for saying there was a link between comments made by PIC leadership in Parliament on Tuesday, and a regulatory raid on his Cape Town offices last week in a market manipulation case.
On Tuesday state asset manager, which manages about R2.1bn on behalf of public servants, briefed Parliament's standing committee on finance regarding the group's financial results.
During questions, the corporation's acting head of legal services, Lindiwe Dlamini, told MPs the PIC was considering submitting an application to liquidate Sekunjalo for the non-repayment of a 2013 loan.
Survé, in a statement, responded by calling Dlamini's comments "deceitful" and "reckless", saying the 2013 loan was not made to Sekunjalo, but to Sekunjalo Independent Media, a special purpose vehicle created to buy out Independent Media SA from its former Irish owners for R2bn. In addition to demanding that Dlamini "correct her falsehood", he said there was a link between her comments and a raid on the offices of subsidiaries of the Sekunjalo group on Wednesday last week.
Sekunjalo Investment Holdings added on Wednesday that it had written to the PIC, giving the asset manager until noon on Thursday to "clarify their statement". "Failure to do so will see Sekunjalo exercise its right to not only institute a damages claim against the PIC but also against Ms Dlamini in her personal capacity," it said.
"[Tuesday's] comments and last week’s FSCA raid are not unrelated, they have been purposefully designed to cause maximum harm to Sekunjalo and myself," he said.
The PIC, in response, on Wednesday said Survé's claims of a link between the PIC and the raid were "misplaced, opportunistic, flawed and deceitful".
"The correct position is that the PIC is not a party to any regulatory investigation by the FSCA into Dr Survé or his business entities that led to last week's search and seizure operation by the FSCA. An attempt to link the PIC’s response and anticipated actions in respect of its investment in Sekunjalo and AYO to last week’s raid at Sekunjalo’s Offices is factually misplaced, opportunistic, flawed and deceitful," said the PIC.
While the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, which carried out the raid, has not confirmed which company it was targeting, Survé previously said it was related to AYO Technology Solutions, an IT company in the Sekunjalo group that listed on the JSE in late 2017 after receiving R4.3bn in investment from the PIC.
The FSCA has previously said it was probing AYO in a market abuse investigation.
The PIC, meanwhile, has instituted a court case against AYO to compel it to return the full investment plus interest. AYO, whose share price has fallen 80% since listing, is opposing the matter. The case has not yet commenced.
Which Sekunjalo is it?
The PIC did not clarify on Wednesday whether Dlamini was referring to Sekunjalo Independent Media or Sekunjalo Investment Holdings when she referenced the possible liquidation application.
The state-run asset manager did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
It has, however, said it will not to make further public statements until "any anticipated and real legal proceedings – of whatever form or manner they may take - are instituted before court".
Survé, meanwhile, has said Sekunjalo would be suing the FSCA because of the raid.