ON THE MONEY
STUART THEOBALD: It’s imperative to appoint an independent probe into the PIC’s behaviour
In such a massive portfolio, it is quite easy to bury the disasters and render them almost invisible
Something is wrong at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). Poor investment decisions are made and poor post-investment oversight is undertaken. There are really only two possible reasons: the PIC’s mandates may be poorly framed — leading to poor outcomes for investments — or bad decisions are being made. Either way, I think the minister of finance should appoint an independent body to investigate and get to the bottom of it. There are two clear recent examples of poor outcomes. First is VBS Mutual Bank. The PIC was deeply invested in the troubled bank, holding at least a quarter of the shares — worth R12.4m — and having made a facility of R350m available. It did not appear to do this flippantly. The PIC appointed its own head of risk management to the board of VBS, presumably to ensure that the PIC’s money was being well looked after. Well, it clearly was not. Judging by the latest information from the VBS curator, that money was fraudulently used to enrich related parties.Half ...