Erstwhile head of listed investments at the PIC, Fidelis Madavo says the PIC knowingly disseminated false and misleading information to the media and the public, demands a full retraction. Photo: Screengrab
Erstwhile head of listed investments at the PIC, Fidelis Madavo says the PIC knowingly disseminated false and misleading information to the media and the public, demands a full retraction. Photo: Screengrab

PIC lied about my ouster from asset manager – Fidelis Madavo

By Sizwe Dlamini Time of article published Mar 4, 2020

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CAPE TOWN – The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), on Monday knowingly disseminated false and misleading information to the media, the public as well as government pensioners – whose money it is entrusted to manage – on the dismissal of its erstwhile executive head of listed investments, Fidelis Madavo.

Madavo made this claim in a letter to the PIC, where he demanded a full retraction of the PIC claim, stating that it was extremely damaging to his name and reputation. He said his rights were reserved to claim damages from the asset manager, should the PIC not comply.

Madavo, who submitted a letter of resignation on February 28, said it was a manipulation of facts that his employment was terminated with effect from March 2. “You are incorrect that my resignation is superseded by the sanction issued chairperson. My resignation was effective on the date that I sent it … and it was only thereafter that the recommendation by the chairperson was made and the PIC accepted (it) and sought (incorrectly) to act in accordance therewith.”

When reached PIC spokesperson Adrian Lackay sent a statement attributed to the head of corporate affairs, Deon Botha, stating that Madavo was formally notified that he had been found guilty on charges of gross misconduct, well in advance of his resignation letter, as well as the subsequent notice of termination by the PIC.

“Given that he was notified well in advance about the outcome of the disciplinary process, his was not a bona fide resignation and is of no effect for the PIC,” he said.

Madavo said he had been vindicated on the AYO Technology Solutions transaction as he had not been found guilty of any misconduct. He said he was guilty of negligence involving not thoroughly checking and questioning the team on memos sent to Government Employees Pensions Fund and Investment Committee post the transaction months later.

“Given his absence at the time of the conclusion of the AYO transaction and the fact that it was approved by Dr (Dan) Matjila, I cannot find any evidence of misconduct on the part of Madavo relating to the fact that the AYO transaction was concluded, or alleged non-compliance with internal processes,” reads the chairperson’s ruling in part. Botha said Madavo had gone through a disciplinary process in which charges were instituted against him with respect to the AYO transaction. “He was found guilty by the chairperson, with the recommendation of a dismissal, which the PIC upheld, as is explained in the PIC media statement of Monday, March 2, 2020, which is attached."

The PIC said in its announcement: “Madavo was suspended by the board on January 22, 2019, on the basis of a preliminary report into the PIC’s investment in listed technology company, AYO… Upon receipt of the preliminary report, the PIC instituted a disciplinary process against Madavo… After representations from both the PIC and Madavo, the (independent) chairperson recommended that Madavo be relieved of his duties on the basis of gross misconduct.”

Commentators have viewed the move by the asset manager acting on the contents of the report, which the Mpati Commission submitted to the Office of the President in December 2019, but has not been made public. A market commentator said: “This was a silly attempt for the PIC to try and keep AYO in the news, when they knew clearly from the PIC Report that AYO was cleared.”

When asked the PIC neither confirmed nor denied having received the report, but referred questions to the Office of the Presidency. Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko confirmed that the report had been sent to PIC chairperson Dr Reuel Khoza to give him a line of sight of the issues contained therein.

BUSINESS REPORT

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