Matshepo More. Picture: SUPPLIED
Matshepo More. Picture: SUPPLIED

In another sign of disarray at Africa’s largest asset manager, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has suspended its acting CEO for allegedly interfering with the commission of inquiry into its governance, and her replacement is facing accusations of his own.

The state-owned asset manager, which oversees about R2-trillion, mostly on behalf of government workers, said on Tuesday that Matshepo More would move aside, just four months after being appointed.

She will be replaced on an acting basis by Vuyani Hako, the executive head of properties.

Alvin Schiel, a subordinate of Hako, testified at the Mpati inquiry that the latter and another executive in the division made him take the fall for the allegedly irregular awarding of a R250m contract.

This was similar to testimony by assistant portfolio manager Victor Seanie, who said his superiors used him as a scapegoat for the PIC’s investment in Ayo Technology Solutions.

Schiel and Seanie have accused the PIC of using disciplinary processes to intimidate and punish those who appear at the commission.

The PIC, which has been embroiled in controversies that culminated in the November resignation of then-CEO Dan Matjila, said the board had acted against More "to ensure free participation of staff in the commission of inquiry process".

The Mpati commission was established to investigate alleged improprieties regarding investments and the conduct of its office-bearers and employees.

One of the most notable deals was the decision to place R4.3bn in the initial public offering of Ayo Technology Solutions in December 2017, a price widely regarded as being too high.

The inquiry also heard on Tuesday that a loan extended to a company introduced to the PIC by Pretty Louw, who was said to be a girlfriend of Matjila before being cleared after a probe by advocate Geoff Budlender, has been written off. This was the testimony provided by Constance Madzikanda, an executive in the post-investment team responsible for monitoring unlisted investments at the PIC.