AYO, PIC and CIPC in courtroom showdown

By Ayanda Mdluli Time of article published Mar 20, 2019

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PRETORIA – It was a showdown at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, between Ayo Technology Solutions (AYO), the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC).

In two separate cases held at a joint sitting in front of Judge Cornelius van der Westhuizen, the CIPC faced off with the PIC, which is seeking to have a compliance notice issued by the CIPC against its board of directors set aside, on the basis that it was irrational and unreasonable and that the process followed by the CIPC was, “procedurally unfair and unlawful”. 

The compliance notice issued by CIPC was to instruct the directors of the PIC to recover its R4.3 billion investment into AYO. 

Gilbert Marcus SC, representing the PIC, said there were a number of red flags in the CIPC’s application, stating that the time frame was unreasonable and that the grounds provided by the CIPC to issue the compliance notice was based on factual errors.

Marcus contended that the CIPC claimed in its issuing of the notice that the PIC board had made a decision to invest in Ayo Technology Solutions.

According to Marcus, this was not the case, as the board was not responsible for signing off the transaction.

This was factually incorrect as the decision to invest in AYO was taken through the PIC’s corporate structures.  

Arguing for the CIPC, Frans Arnoldi SC, was of the view that it was neither here nor there if the board had approved the transaction, as ultimately, the buck stopped with them and they had to be held accountable.

Judge van der Westehuzein reserved his judgment for Monday on the PIC and CIPC matter.

In another matter held in the same sitting, the CIPC and PIC also faced off as the first and second respondent against AYO Technology Solutions, which had launched an urgent application to interdict the CIPC's compliance notice and have it set aside on the basis that it was unconstitutional.

Nazeer Cassim, SC representing AYO Technology Solutions, said the granting of the compliance order would not only set a dangerous precedent, but it would also have disastrous consequences for the South African economy at large.

“The interests should be to preserve the assets of the PIC into AYO, the decision of the CIPC to issue the compliance notice was a reckless decision. AYO is a directly affected party of interest in the matter,” he said.

Both matters have been reserved for judgment on Monday. 

This is a developing story.


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