PIC: We will still recover funds from AYO

The Public Investment Corporation on Tuesday said it would still forge ahead with steps to recover billions of rands it invested into AYO Technology Solutions.

This after the North Gauteng High Court ruled in its favour that the compliance notice issued to it by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) should be set aside as it was unlawful.

The PIC is a government-owned investment vehicle that manages some R2trn of state employee pension funds.

The CIPC compliance notice that was issued to the PIC was an order for it to recoup its investment - R4.3bn - into AYO within 15 business days.

As part of the initial CIPC order, the PIC was also ordered to recover any interest that may have accrued on the investment within six months, Fin24 previously reported. 

The two parties, however, came to an agreement last week where this was changed to 60 days instead.

"The only issue in dispute was whether the issued compliance notice was defective and stood to be set aside or whether it ought to be suspended pending a review of that notice in the normal course.

Null, void, moot

"In that regard, the Court made an important finding that the CIPC failed to afford the PIC a Constitutional right to be heard prior to issuing the notice. This rendered the notice invalid and null and void," the PIC said in a statement.

The CIPC's counter-application was also dismissed, while another urgent application, which AYO had brought against the PIC and CIPC, was rendered moot on the back of the judgment.

However, the PIC said it remained "committed to carry out ... the steps that it had already taken to recover the invested funds without any delay".

The PIC has previously said it would institute measures to recoup the funds.

AYO technology solutions is linked to Cape Town businessman Iqbal Survé, who holds an indirect stake in the company.

Meanwhile, the judicial commission of inquiry into the PIC, which is currently investigating the asset manager's governance and investment decisions, has focused on the decision by the PIC to take up the full initial public offering of AYO in December 2017. The commission, chaired by Justice Lex Mpati, has heard of the close relationship between former PIC CEO Dan Matjila and Survé, who is also executive chairperson of Independent Media.

Also on Tuesday, acting CEO Matshepo More was placed on precautionary suspension, following allegations that she was interfering in processes related to the commission of inquiry into the asset manager. Vuyani Hako, the Executive Head of Properties, will replace More as acting CEO.

Cosatu has also since weighed in, welcoming More's suspension. The union said it was alarmed by reports that she had allegedly interfered in matters relating to the inquiry.

Cosatu added that the Hawks and other law enforcement agencies should be roped in to deal with "attempts to sabotage the commission".

The inquiry continues.

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