R2m Advertising fee that led to suspension

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Renee Bonorchis

The suspended head of the R1.2 trillion Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), John Oliphant, wanted an independent report to be made public in the interests of transparency, he said yesterday.

Arthur Moloto, a former chairman of the GEPF, Africa’s biggest pension fund, suspended Oliphant after he received the report from PwC in September last year.

Oliphant breached GEPF policy by approving an increase in the fee for an advertising contract to Johannesburg agency Mother Russia to R2 million from R531 555, according to the PwC report.

“An amicable resolution of the dispute should include making public the PwC report, the initial charge sheet, the amended charge sheet and my response to the charges,” Oliphant said.

“While an amicable resolution still eludes us, we are perplexed now that the report has been leaked. Transparency is important, the GEPF is a public-interest institution.”

More than 1.5 million South Africans have retirement funds in the GEPF, which is the single biggest investor on the JSE.

Oliphant’s disciplinary hearing is due to start today and is scheduled to run until Friday. Oliphant has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Joelene Moodley, the acting principal executive officer of the GEPF, and Emmanuel Lekgau, the head of the governance and legal committee, did not immediately respond to e-mailed questions yesterday.

Calls to the GEPF’s offices were not answered. A call to the Johannesburg offices of Mother Russia was not answered after regular business hours. – Bloomberg

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