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AYO calls on regulators to investigate the manipulation of its share price

AYO Technology Solutions, on Wednesday, called on the JSE and the FSCA to urgently investigate what appeared to be deliberate manipulation of its share price.

AYO Technology Solutions, on Wednesday, called on the JSE and the FSCA to urgently investigate what appeared to be deliberate manipulation of its share price.

Published May 4, 2022

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Sizwe Dlamini

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AYO Technology Solutions (AYO), on Wednesday, again called on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) to urgently investigate what appeared to be deliberate manipulation of its share price, the listed company said in a statement.

On Tuesday, AYO’s share price took a dramatic dip following a suspicious transaction, with an unidentified seller dispersing 100 shares at a value of 3 cents each – well below the market value.

AYO said it strongly urged the regulator to investigate who was responsible for what the company considered to be deliberate sabotage, as it was not the first time this had happened.

In January 2021, AYO had asked the JSE’s market regulator division to investigate an extraordinary rise of up to 400 percent in its share price. Prior to that, AYO had pointed out to the JSE and FSCA that certain journalists were allegedly working in collusion with specific asset managers and hedge funds to intentionally short the company’s share price.

“In 2019, there were communications with these bodies bringing to their attention that there had been sceptical trades between 2018 and 2019. Instead of looking into the matter on AYO’s behalf, the FSCA chose to raid the offices of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings (SIH). It should be noted that nothing untoward was found and that the raid itself was unlawful,” the company said.

The tech firm said it believed that the sharp upswing in the share price was potentially deliberately being used to bring the company’s name into disrepute and to continue the unwarranted negative narrative in the mainstream media.

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“It is incumbent on the JSE and the FSCA to scrutinise this matter with some urgency, given their remit, which is to look at market movement and behaviour that does not fit the norm. It will be an absolute dereliction of duty if they do not,” said AYO.

Neither the JSE nor the FSCA had responded to questions at the time of compiling this report.

AYO said it also did not understand why the media persisted in using images of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings chairperson Dr Iqbal Survé to preface any article written about AYO.

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“AYO is at pains to point out, yet again, that Survé has no direct link to AYO. Survé is neither on the board of the company nor involved in its management.”

AYO surmises, however, that this is a deliberate attempt to further smear the reputation of AYO, with the purpose of driving the share price of the company into oblivion to justify the pervasive false narrative created by the media that AYO’s listing valuation was inflated.

Again, the company would stress to the market that the valuation was found by senior members of the PIC to be of fair value given its potential – had it been left to go about its business as intended in the PLS.

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AYO said it was disappointing that, at a time when the Equality Court Interdict ruling is expected, someone saw fit to continue what appears to be a planned campaign to influence the impartial judiciary, in a matter that will have far-reaching consequences for the entire country.

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