MAGDA WIERZYCKA: Unknown entities thrive on incredible PIC largesse
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In February 2019, Business Day published this article by Sygnia Group CEO Magda Wierzycka entitled "Unknown entities thrive on incredible largesse from PIC".
The article referred to a document detailing the transactional and advisory fees paid by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to various financial firms, including the London-based former Goldman Sachs banker Nana Sao and his company Sao Capital, during the period 2014 to 2018.
The article stated that advisory and referral fees amounting to R64.2m were paid to Sao during Dan Matjila's tenure as PIC CEO, referring to "rumours of a link" between Mr Sao and Mr Matjila.
“I have been told that if you wanted to secure funding from the PIC for a transaction, you were pointed to Nana Sao. After an ‘advisory fee’ had been negotiated, the funding would materialise. Essentially, he [Mr Sao] seemed to act as a fixer,” the article stated.
Sao Capital’s services were termed “questionable”, Mr Sao was described as “sneaky”, and the payments were said to have been part of “a sad litany of plunder of the PIC’s assets”.
Business Day did not verify these statements prior to publication and failed to afford Mr Sao an opportunity for comment. We retract the statements and apologise to Mr Sao and Sao Capital for any harm they may have suffered.
Mr Sao replied as follows to the article: “Each and every one of the defamatory allegations and innuendo concerning Mr Nana Sao and Sao Capital in the article by Magda Wierzycka were factually incorrect and are all unverified. Had Ms Wierzycka bothered to conduct a basic Google search and/or contacted us prior to writing the defamatory and false allegations about us, we would have set the record straight.
“In our view and that of our attorney, Ms Wierzycka was irresponsible and acted unlawfully in publishing fake news concerning us without even having taken the trouble to contact us.”