The PIC has fired its CFO, just as the current board's tenure is about to end

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Matshepo More.
Matshepo More.
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  • The PIC has dismissed its CFO, Matshepo More.
  • It received the final report of her disciplinary process two weeks ago, which found her guilty of neglecting her duties.
  • As the current board's term ends on 30 October, it's now up to the new board - yet to be announced - to finalise other disciplinary processes and recover monies that the PIC lost. 

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) says it has finally parted ways with its CFO, Matshepo More, who has been receiving a full salary from the company for two years since being suspended in March 2019.

The outgoing chairperson of the PIC board, Reuel Khoza, told journalists at a media briefing on Thursday that two weeks ago, the PIC board received a report from the chairperson of the inquiry into misconduct and misdemeanours that More was accused of. The report found her guilty of neglect of her duties.

"The board, upon very serious reflection and review, felt that in fact, the misconduct and the dereliction of duty were severe enough to warrant her being requested to leave the position," said Khoza.

He said while it took "very long" to complete More's disciplinary process, and the PIC lost a lot of money paying her salary over that time, it had to follow due process.

"So, it took as long as it did. But ultimately, the decision has been taken to part ways with the former chief financial officer," said Khoza.

Earlier in October, the PIC faced scrutiny for paying salaries of several of its suspended employees who were fingered for wrongdoing in the Mpati Commission report. The PIC specifically charged More for signing a memo approving a R4.3-billion transaction involving Iqbal Survé's AYO Technology in 2017 - before the organisation's management committee could approve it.

Other suspended executives who received their salaries were the PIC's former executive head of impact investments, Roy Rajdhar, who resigned in June 2021, and the former executive head of human resources, Chris Pholwane, who is currently on special leave.

Hawks investigating transactions More was implicated in

As for More, although she has been dismissed, the PIC said she'll walk away with her pension.

PIC board member advocate Makhubalo Ndaba said the Pension Funds Act does not allow employers to withhold pension benefits without a court order or a signature from the employee acknowledging debt owed to their employer.

But he said that won't prevent the PIC from pursuing other routes should it be found that More may have caused a loss to the company in one way or another.

Ndaba said the asset manager has referred several transactions that she's implicated on to the Hawks.

"There are several transactions that are being investigated by the Hawks. And there are matters that the NPA is considering putting charges to people," he said.

However, Ndaba said the Hawks are reluctant to share more information on their investigation or people's identities.

"We wouldn't know as to who is being actively pursued by the law enforcement agencies. But all the transactions from the Mpati Commission and those transactions but the board felt have to be referred to the law enforcement agencies have been forwarded to them," said Ndaba.

Board instability and the revolving door

The disciplinary processes of other current and former PIC executives such as Dan Matjila and Pholwane are still not complete. Khoza said the board admits that it didn't complete its work as far as implementing the recommendations of the Mpati Commission is concerned.

However, he said it has compiled a 58-page report that covers in detail what it was able to deliver. This will be handed over to the new board. The current board's tenure will come to an end on Sunday, 30 October.

Although this was supposed to be an interim board, it stayed in place for 27 months. The PIC essentially faced a leadership vacuum at the board level for over two years, operating with an interim board. 

This after all the old PIC board members resigned in February 2019 in the middle of a commission of inquiry into allegations of impropriety by Judge Lex Mpati. Then-finance minister Tito Mboweni announced a new board in July that year. 

And even that board ended its term left with only seven of its original members after seven resignations and the passing of Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi in early 2020.

The new board will have 10 members. It will be chaired by the deputy minister of finance or anybody from the economic cluster. It will have three members from organised labour, three from the Government Employees' Pension Fund, one from finance and Treasury.

"But luckily for continuity, two will be appointed from the current board. We want to believe essentially people from the private sector," said Khoza.

He said the current board members can voice their inclinations to stay but cannot know for sure who the remaining two will be.

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