AYO TECHNOLOGY Solutions yesterday refuted claims that its employees would suffer repercussions if asked to testify at the PIC Commission of Inquiry. African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - AYO Technology Solutions yesterday refuted claims that its employees would suffer repercussions if asked to testify at the PIC Commission of Inquiry.

AYO chief executive Howard Plaatjies said the group supported employees who were called to testify, charging that the entire group was willing to co-operate with the commission.

“AYO wishes to confirm that it is in full support of any of its employees and associates called to testify at these hearings, and that the company encourages them to be open and honest in their testimony, should they participate,” Plaatjies said.

“In this light, AYO categorically confirms that no negative repercussions will be levelled against any employee who truthfully testifies at any commission of inquiry.”

The move comes after evidence leader Jannie Lubbe told the commission he was worried about the safety of AYO executive of business transformation Naahied Gamieldien who testified under subpoena yesterday.

Gamieldien told the commission that AYO was currently in a growth phase and was investing in staff and other costs for growth.

She said various one-off costs amounting to R27.83million contributed to the profit before tax number and mainly attributable to the listing.

“In the financial statements, the profit before tax amounts to R195997m and the interest is reflected as R225m,” Gamieldien said. “Once the interest is added back, the company appears to have made a loss of R29.203m. In short, I agree that AYO showed profitable results mainly due to the interest earned on share issue proceeds and if this was excluded AYO would be loss making.”

Gamieldien said AYO struggled to reach its revenue targets due to a breakdown in the relationship with British Telecommunications South Africa and negative media reports which impacted on the company’s ability to attract new customers or generate additional business from Sasol. She also refuted claims that the company’s interim results were manipulated, as stated by two former employees, when they testified at the commission.

Gamieldien said she met with AYO executive Khalid Abdulla last April at his home where he scrutinised the gross profit and operating expense margins.

“I presented to him an Excel version of the results as prepared by the AYO finance team. At this point, AYO’s profit after tax (Pat) was R32m. He queried why the margins were so low as he was expecting a higher profitability and asked me to adjust the spreadsheet to reflect the usual margins to show him what the effect on Pat would then be. I adjusted the gross profit margin to align to the 35percent of prior years and this increased Pat to R50m.

"* confirm that I sent a screen shot of the Excel spreadsheet to the AYO executives which I understand Hardy has presented into evidence,” she said.

Asked by Gill Marcus if the results were manipulated, Gamieldies said they were not.

Last week AYO denied that its unaudited financials were amended and revealed that is was “extremely perturbed” by the allegations.

Plaatjes said Gamieldien unreservedly joined the executive in dispelling the impression portrayed to the commission.

“As corroborated by her evidence today, Ms Gamieldien expressed her concerns about the impact the factually incorrect, misleading and negative media reports have had on AYO, of which this could be one more such instance,” said Plaatjies.

“Consequently, she and the AYO board who share her concerns, wish to assure all stakeholders that the suggestion of any negative ramifications towards her inferred by the commission, are totally groundless.”