CAPE TOWN - Former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) chief executive Dan Matjila believes the “reign of terror” under his tenure at the helm of the asset manager was coined by elements in the media to tarnish his reputation.
Matjila testified for the third week at the inquiry into improprieties at the PIC yesterday.
He claimed that an article in the Tiso Blackstar-owned Business Day had conceptualised the term, Reign of Terror, after he was interviewed by one of the paper's journalists.
Matjila said that he had decided to take action after sensitive PIC information was leaked to the media.
At the time, Matjila claims, he had raised concerns on why the Risk and Legal departments at the PIC were being dominated by the Venda ethnic group under the management of Paul Magula who was head of risk and compliance at the organisation.
He testified that there were a disturbing number of anonymous emails and leaks to the media that made various allegations about him.
“To illustrate how spurious, spiteful and nonsensical these allegations were, one accusation charged that I had used my position to have my son irregularly employed at the PIC.
"The evidence for this accusation? There was a gentleman who had been appointed manager of the PIC canteen, who shared my surname. In fact, this Mr Matjila was no relation of mine,” said Matjila.
He said he had requested the PIC’s executive head of information and technology, Luyanda Ntuane, to investigate why there were so many leaks, such as the Mobile Satellite Technology memo, and the Ascendis and Tosaco deals.
“The confidential PIC memorandum concerning these financial applications found their way into the media. The source of these emails was so obviously an inside job. I was very concerned about the vulnerability of the PIC’s IT platform.
"Not only was there a clear and obvious risk to the PIC’s R2trillion worth of client assets if the PIC systems could be compromised in this manner, but there was a clear likelihood that potential applicants for finance would be deterred from approaching the PIC for funding if the confidentiality of their applications could not be secured,” he said.
The IT team made a breakthrough and were able to identify an internet kiosk in Sandton where some of the emails were sent from. “I asked them to make further investigations and reach out to the kiosk. Ms Menye advised me that they will need a case number to subpoena the kiosk to provide more information.”
He said he was then informed that the police could not open a case as the MST memo document was not classified as confidential. “I had a strong belief that people within the PIC were behind the allegations and I narrowed the scope of the investigations to cover areas where there were the highest chance of leakage - the company secretariat the IT department, risk department and legal department.”
He said the PIC was also on the unfavourable end of press coverage after it emerged that the police were probing allegations of corruption against him. "The allegations relate to an incident in September 2017 when an anonymous person accused me of channelling funds to 'a girlfriend’."