Matshepo More. Picture: WARREN THOMPSON
Matshepo More. Picture: WARREN THOMPSON

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has fired CFO Matshepo More, two-and-a-half years after she was suspended on full pay on charges of not serving the best interests of Africa’s largest money manager.

More was “subjected to a number of investigations,” and two weeks ago the board was given a report compiled by an advisory panel that found her guilty of dereliction of duty,  chairperson Reuel Khoza said in a briefing Thursday. 

“It took very long, with money being paid for her while she was not delivering any service,” he said. “Unfortunately, due process at times behooves us to behave that way. You cannot ride roughshod over issues of that nature.”

A call to a cellphone number More has used in the past went straight to a voice service. 

The PIC, which mainly oversees the pensions of SA government workers, has been recovering from a judicial probe that exposed lapses in governance and political interference in investment decisions.

The inquiry recommended sweeping changes early in 2020 to laws that govern the Pretoria-based PIC, which oversees R2.34-trillion in assets.

Further action, including reclaiming payments made to her by the PIC, may be taken against More if it’s shown that the former CFO owes the company money or may have lead to losses to the company, said Makhubalo Ndaba, chair of the human resources and remuneration committee. She may also be among those investigated by the police, following several matters that the PIC referred for investigation following findings from the commission, he said.

More earned R10.6m  in the year to end-March 2019 and had continued to be paid through this fiscal year. The interim board, which was appointed in July 2019 for a period of two years, had its last meeting Thursday. Since its appointment, the positions of CIO, CEO and COO have been more clearly defined, Khoza said. Previously the CIO and CEO roles were combined.

“A perception existed previously that no investment proposal would be accepted unless it came through specific gatekeepers within the PIC,” Khoza said. Now, “no single individual in the PIC has powers to approve investments.” 

The PIC is also in talks with state-owned power utility Eskom on its current debt exposure, CEO Abel Sithole said in the briefing. “We have more than R80bn invested with Eskom, so we have regular engagements on matters,” he said.

“Eskom underpins pretty much the rest of the PIC portfolio, so we have a very specific interest in the viability of Eskom.”

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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