No record of R4bn investment in oil firm
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has no trace of documents to show how and why it invested almost R4bn into an obscure oil company with links to the ANC and former President Jacob Zuma, according to a Business Day report.
The PIC invested $270m (R3.9bn) into Camac Energy, which was subsequently renamed Erin Energy, when the little-known oil company founded by Nigerian businessman Kase Lawal listed on the JSE in 2014.
Lawal, founder and chair of Camac, was reportedly an ANC donor and accompanied the former President when he received an honorary degree from Lawal’s alma mater, Texas Southern University, the Mail & Guardian reported in 2014.
Despite investing in the company, the PIC could not find any documents or investment committee minutes to support its reasoning for the transaction, according to evidence at the Mpati Commission of Inquiry into governance failures at the asset manager.
‘We have been requesting information from the PIC but to date we have received no documentation or minutes authorising the investment of $270m,’ evidence leader Jannie Lubbe said.
The PIC could not locate any documentation relating to the Camac listing it supported in 2014, he said. The disclosure was just the latest example of alleged disregard for basic corporate governance standards at the PIC – the single biggest investor on the JSE – under the leadership of the previous CEO, Dan Matjila, who resigned in November 2018.
The PIC also issued a guarantee for R1.44bn to facilitate a loan Camac Energy was trying to secure from Mauritian Commercial Bank, despite being advised not to do so by its own oil executive.
Yesterday, the commission heard an account of decisions it took on the listings of Iqbal Survé-linked companies. According to a Moneyweb report, the JSE says it had enough time to look at all the facts when it made its pre-listing assessment of AYO Technology Solutions and Sagarmatha Technologies. The companies’ interactions with the PIC are under scrutiny by the commission, particularly with regards to whether or not they misled investors and were overvalued.
General manager for issuer regulation at the JSE Andries Visser provided testimony regarding the processes the JSE followed in its assessment of Sagarmatha and AYO, including the pending investigation. Visser said the decision to cancel the listing of Sagarmatha was primarily based on the fact that Sagarmatha had not disclosed ‘critical’ information.
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