Dr Iqbal Survé during the raid in Cape Town. Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Sekunjalo Investment Holdings (Sekunjalo) has hit back at the search and seizure raid conducted by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) at its offices on 9 October. 

The application requests the court to order the FSCA to return its seized documentation, unopened and declare the raid unconstitutional.

Sekunjalo said that in February 2019, Sekunjalo requested the FSCA to investigate share trades in three Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed companies within the Sekunjalo Group – AEEI, Premier Fishing & Brands and AYO Technology Solutions Ltd. It requested the FSCA to launch an urgent investigation and in particular, focus its attention on certain trades that had been conducted over the preceding six  months. 

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Sekunjalo says that it believed the transactions were aimed at lowering the share prices to profit from shorting the shares in AEEI, Premier Fishing s and Brands and AYO. 

Sekunjalo also requested the FSCA to look into several articles written by a number of asset managers, market commentators and media houses that may have contributed to the shorting of the shares.

“From the outset, Sekunjalo demonstrated its willingness to engage with and fully co-operate with the FSCA. The shorting of the shares has been to the detriment of mainly black community shareholders. The effect of Sekunjalo’s request to the FSCA was to protect all shareholders but most especially, its community shareholders,” said Sekunjalo chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé.

“It is regrettable that Sekunjalo was not afforded the courtesy of being asked beforehand to provide the information the FSCA sought, which it would readily have made available to it. As such, Sekunjalo views the search and seizure with deep circumspect,” he said.

Despite the ambit of the warrant, the items seized went beyond its scope and included privileged private information and highly confidential media sources pertaining to Independent Media in which Sekunjalo has a strategic investment. This poses a direct threat to privacy and media freedom in South Africa.

For these and other reasons, Sekunjalo is seeking to have the warrant set aside and have the seized documentation returned.

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