Johannesburg - Today is expected to shed light for the commission of inquiry into the financial affairs of liquidated luxury golf estate developer Pinnacle Point Group, as the group’s former chief executive, Hendrik Pretorius, is due to testify on Absa’s role in Pinnacle Point’s fall.
“Tomorrow [today] will be the main focus on what Absa Bank was doing. Hendrik Pretorius will tell us about his dealings with Absa,” said Gavin Woodland, the commission examiner who also represents the Trilinear Empowerment Trust, which lost millions of textile workers’ retirement monies when Pinnacle Point collapsed.
Pretorius was apparently deployed by Absa to oversee Pinnacle Point when the bank found itself owning a 27 percent majority stake in Pinnacle.
There have been reports that he was on both Pinnacle Point’s and Absa’s payroll during his tenure as chief executive in the former company. These were the dealings which Woodland said would be questioned today.
Yesterday, the commission reconvened the inquiry even though it had already given findings on the matter, saying that Pinnacle directors might have traded recklessly, thus the crash in its shares on the JSE.
The inquiry reopened because the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu), whose members lost about R400 million in retirement savings as a result of Pinnacle’s fall, had asked that Absa be subpoenaed to testify on its role.
Clothing workers had placed R470m in retirement funds under the Trilinear Empowerment Trust. Trilinear acquired Absa’s stake in Pinnacle Point in 2010 for the Sactwu retirement fund.
Steve Kruger, the former chief financial officer at Pinnacle Point, continued to point fingers at Absa yesterday, despite the earlier findings of the commission. He argued that Pinnacle Point’s trading activities during the period in question should be viewed under the influence Absa had.
Kruger has been blaming share manipulation since Pinnacle Point got into trouble and has always pointed fingers at Absa. Yesterday he explained how on a single day there was a trade of 36 500 shares, which wiped off R1.2 billion in Pinnacle Point’s market cap. - Business Report