JOHANNESBURG – Businessperson Kholofelo Maponya yesterday slammed Justice Lex Mpati’s commission of inquiry on malfeasance at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) for concluding its work without having afforded him the opportunity to give his side of the story after numerous allegations were made against him.
Maponya said in a statement that the process had been “grossly unfair” to him and his business interests.
He said he hoped that Mpati and the PIC board would not leave him with unanswered questions.
“My name has been mentioned several times and in many cases in a manner that has the potential to irreparably damage my reputation and business interests,” Maponya said.
“To leave matters hanging, as they are, is to sustain the defamatory substance placed before the commission and to keep me convicted in the court of public opinion, without ever having had an opportunity to respond to my accusers and to state my case.”
Maponya’s company, Matome Maponya Investment (MMI), was alleged to have been favoured and got “too many deals” from the PIC.
In May, Standard Bank head of compliance Ian Sinton told the commission that he was taken aback when Maponya demanded to be paid R45 million for facilitating a deal between SA Home Loans and the PIC.
In 2013, the PIC bought 50 percent shares in SA Home Loans, 25 percent of which would be held by MMI. Sinton said that the lender deemed the facilitation fee as a bribe solicitation and reported the matter to the Hawks.
Maponya’s MMI was also accused of getting the state asset manager to fund both MMI’s acquisition of a 54 percent stake in Daybreak and the PIC’s acquisition of a 36 percent stake in Daybreak.
Judge Mpati said that yesterday marked the last day of the scheduled public hearings and the commission would now review, assess, make finding and propose recommendations to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“In addition to the investigations and testimonies that have been presented to the commission over the past eight months, further possible questionable transactions have come to the attention of the investigation team,” Mpati said.
“The team will continue with its investigations and if deemed appropriate and necessary, further limited public hearings may be held,” the judge said.
The last witness to take the stand was former trade unionist turned businessman Jayendra Naidoo, whose company, Lancaster, received R9.3 billion from the PIC to invest in the embattled Steinhoff in 2016, a year before the group’s monumental collapse.
Naidoo said Lancaster was suing Steinhoff to the tune of R12bn.
“In April 2019, after the publication by Steinhoff of the summary of the findings by the PricewaterhouseCoopers investigations, Lancaster 101 instituted legal steps against Steinhoff for the recovery of the investment made in 2016. The matter is currently proceeding. We will pursue that claim vigorously,” Naidoo said.