EXCLUSIVE: PIC set to clash with Nene over Dan Matjila corruption claims
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene seeks documents as he takes another look at Matjila allegations
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) board is set to clash with Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene over corruption claims against its CEO, Dan Matjila.
A letter from Nene indicated he was looking afresh at corruption allegations made in 2017 against Matjila and asked the board to provide him with the details of the matter by Monday.
However, the PIC said the board was of the "view that the matter has been sufficiently dealt with".
The allegations include that Matjila channelled funds for corporate social investment to a girlfriend. The board investigated in 2017 and found the claims had no foundation. A renewed police investigation into Matjila has reignited the claims, causing Nene to write last week to the PIC chairman, Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele, requesting a full briefing and a record of its deliberations. The reason for the renewed interest is not clear.
The letter, which Business Day has seen, has been confirmed by the Treasury as coming from Nene.
In his letter, Nene also asked the board whether disciplinary steps — including a precautionary suspension of Matjila and any other executives of the PIC — were warranted and suggested that Matjila not be party to the discussions.
The origin of the police investigation dates back to October 2017, when the claims surfaced. At the time, the PIC board was divided between Matjila’s supporters and those of then chairman Sfiso Buthelezi. In the midst of this, a criminal complaint was made to the police about Matjila. He denied the allegations at the time.
The PIC’s head of corporate affairs, Deon Botha, confirmed that Gungubele and other members of the board had received Nene’s letter.
Botha reiterated that the allegations against Matjila were baseless and that he had been cleared of any wrongdoing while giving an assurance of the board’s co-operation with the minister’s request.
"The board is co-operating with the minister and all the reports and other documentation requested by the minister are being submitted," said Botha.
The PIC manages R2-trillion in government employees’ pension funds and other social funds. Over the past year, it has been increasingly in the spotlight with reports of questionable investment deals.
The details of the subpoena were reported in City Press last Sunday. Nene’s letter expressed concern about "negative reports" in the media.
The list of Nene’s demands include that Gungubele should submit all supporting documents, including all internal audits and reports as well as reports commissioned by the PIC, pertaining to the allegations against Matjila.
Nene referred to the board’s request made in October 2017 for "an engagement" with his predecessor, Malusi Gigaba, on the Matjila matter. He said he would like to meet the board as soon as the responses and documents he had requested have been provided.
Gigaba wrote to Buthelezi in 2017 requesting that a forensic audit be carried out at the PIC shortly after the allegations against Matjila surfaced.