Jabu Moleketi
PRETORIA – The establishment of Lebashe Investment Group occurred eight years after Jabu Moleketi resigned as deputy finance minister and as chairperson of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

Moleketi, who is a director of Lebashe, Harith Fund Managers (HFM) and Harith General Partners (HGP), told the PIC Commission of Inquiry that his involvement in Lebashe had absolutely nothing to do with his earlier positions in the government or in either of the Harith entities.

Moleketi also submitted to the Judge Lex Mpati-led commission that Tshepo Mahloele’s employment with the PIC never coincided with his duties at the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF).

The PAIDF was established to drive former president Thabo Mbeki’s vision of the private sector playing a key role, together with government, by investing in the future development of infrastructure in Africa.

Moleketi told the commission that the PlC’s management executive committee had identified Mahloele as best qualified to set up the PAIDF, which was intended to be the primary vehicle envisaged to realise Mbeki’s ideals.

Mahloele, who’s a director of Harith and Lebashe as well as chairperson of Lebashe, said in his testimony to the commission that the decision by the Government Employees Pension Fund to make an investment in the PAIDF was entirely independent of the PIC.

Mahloele resigned from his position as head of corporate finance and the lsibaya Fund at the PIC in April 2006 to take up the task, the commission heard.

Moleketi said: “With all the necessary legal approvals and in compliance with the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act, a loan of seed capital in the sum of R17million was made by the PIC to the PAIDF Facilitation Trust so as to permit Mah- loele to set up the fund and to attract private sector investors.

“The seed capital was provided by way of an arm’s length loan which was repayable in full, plus interest, to the PIC. The amount drawn down on the loan, with certain costs and expenses, was in total just over R225million.”

“Accordingly, there can be no allegation of a conflict of interest,” he said. “I deny and take exception to the description of being a ‘PIC operative’ that (UDM leader Bantu) Holomisa has assigned to me and the others. I also deny the unfounded allegation that * have sought to create an empire on the back of PIC funds.”

He described the allegations as extremely hurtful and damaging to him. “I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I am a respected former minister. Having served my party and my country, I am now a businessman.”

Moleketi said Holomisa’s “unrelenting slander” would be thoroughly dealt with in the action for defamation already instituted pursuant to the urgent application.

He said he never held any private corporate interests or positions while deputy minister of finance as this was a requirement of all ministerial posts.