Withdrawal of case lifts Pinnacle

PROSECUTORS have dropped charges of attempted bribery against a director of Pinnacle due to insufficient evidence, sending shares of the small-cap technology company soaring.

The Specialised Commercial Crime Unit (SCCU) in March arrested Takalani Tshivhase on charges that he had allegedly offered a bribe to a senior police officer to win a contract.

Tshivhase denied the charges and Pinnacle said at the time that it had no reason to doubt him.

“The SCCU has come to the conclusion that the evidence presented is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution. The charges against Mr Tshivhase will accordingly be withdrawn,” the company said.

Shares of Pinnacle, which had been hammered after news of the charge against Tshivhase earlier this year, gained 43.65 percent to close at R14.15.

News of the charges in late March knocked $135 million (R1.4 billion at yesterday’s rate) or 43 percent off Pinnacle’s stock value in two days. Before the arrest was announced shares were worth R20.

A separate probe into possible insider trading in Pinnacle shares was still going on, an official at the Financial Services Board (FSB) told Reuters.

“Yes, we are still investigating. We should hopefully finalise our investigation soon,” Solly Keetse, the head of the Department of Market Abuse at the FSB, said.