CAPE TOWN - Former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) chief executive Dr Dan Matjila tore into the asset manager’s former head of risk and compliance, Paul Magula, stopping short of naming him as the ring leader of a vicious disinformation campaign against him that was exacerbated by the emergence of whistle blower James Nogu who blew the lid on a wide variety of transactions that implicated certain executives in the organisation.
In his testimony, Matjila made it clear that he believed that whoever was behind the James Nogu saga was an insider in the PIC who had intricate knowledge of the confidential deals between the R2 trillion asset manager and companies looking for funding such as Acsendis, MST and others.
According to Matjila, the behaviour of Magula after VBS Mutual Bank extended a loan to former President Jacob Zuma was “a very arrogant one”. Interestingly, Magula served on the board of BS Mutual Bank on behalf of the PIC at the time of its demise towards the end of last year.
“He changed very quickly. He started to undermine my authority. I had to force him to organise a Board strategy workshop that the PIC Board has asked for months,” he said.
According to Matjila, Magula became derelict in his duties by not ensuring that the risk statement in the PIC corporate plan met appropriate standards.
“He simply abandoned his duties leaving critical work to junior staff to handle. In paragraph 7 of Candace Abrahams' witness statement to this Commission she confirms that she had several additional responsibilities placed on her by Mr Magula. In my opinion he took advantage of her excellent work ethic to overload her with work that he should have,” said Matjila.
Matjila claims that Magula also served on the board of a company called Magae Makhaya where there was gross maladministration of funds.
“This was a situation similar to that of VBS. But instead of alerting the PIC Board as its nominee director to this maladministration he kept quiet with disastrous consequences for VBS. I had to come back from holiday for a meeting with the board of Magae Makhaya to get an explanation on the finances of the company where after a comprehensive business plan was required to be provided by it as well as a reconciliation of management fees paid to date. Neither the business plan nor the reconciliation were ever provided and instead, the company took the PIC,” said Matjila.
Investment expert, Emmanuel Lediga, who is assisting retired Judge Lex Mpati at the commission asked Matjila who he thought James Nogu was.
“Who is James Nogu from your point of view, you mention people like staff in PIC, did they take info and give it to Nogu?
“I wish I knew. I have a view who James Nogu could be. It’s almost like there is a person that information is fed to and writes their stories. Its almost like there is a person that information is fed to and writes these stories cause they have a nice secure platform. Like De Observer 101 (Titter account) who is now the James Nogu in social media. He is also doing the same thing,” said Matjila.
Matjila said some of the statements in the commission and contrasting that on James Nogu allegation, the whistle blowers allegations are supported by certain individuals.
Matjila believed, that this information was packaged by Nogu because he has the technical expertise and can use the media to sustain the narrative.
“There is a number of individuals that came to the commission and supported strategy of James Nogu and knew how to disseminate information. I was hoping investigations will one day say eureka we found James Nogu. If this is how James disorganises organisations it is going to be problematic…There ways and structures to raise matters without damaging peoples reputations with false information,” said Matjila.