Former PIC boss Dan Matjila. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA - The Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC) executive head of internal audit Lufuno Nemagovhani told the commission of inquiry on Wednesday that no evidence of wrongdoing was found when former PIC boss Dan Matjila was last year probed for alleged impropriety.

The matter related to a loan to Maison Holdings (MST) and financial assistance to Matjila's purported girlfriend, Pretty Louw. She was the owner of MST.

The inquiry’s evidence leader Advocate Jannie Lubbe SC asked Nemagovhani to explain how the PIC’s internal audit unit had handled the allegations against the former PIC chief executive, Matjila, in relation to the allegations “which received widespread publicity in the press”.

“There was a full investigation by my colleague [Geoff] Budlender SC with a report dealing with this matter. I just want you to briefly deal, and tell the commission about your involvement in this matter,” Lubbe requested Nemagovhani at the public hearing in Pretoria.

“If I understand you correctly, the allegation about the funding of MST the finding was that there was absolutely no substance in that allegation? Is that correct?”

Nemagovhani responded: “Yes. The allegation was saying that PIC has used the CSI [Corporate Social Investment] money to fund the alleged girlfriend. The amount, in terms of the allegation was R21 million or R23 million. 

"During our assessment, during the execution of the work that we were instructed to do by the board, there was no CSI funding to the alleged girlfriend or MST of the amount of R21 million. 

"There was a loan under assets under investment which was extended to MST, of R21 million. There was also a CSI funding of R5 million that was given to MST”.

Commissioner of the inquiry, former SA Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus asked if the loan was being serviced.

Nemagovhani responded: “At the time when we were performing the work we were instructed to do, the loan was being serviced”.

In November, Matjila resigned from the PIC.

Last year on 17 October President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that he had set up a commission of inquiry into allegations of impropriety regarding the PIC and gave it six months to complete the investigation. 

The PIC, the biggest asset manager in Africa and manages almost R2 trillion in government pension and other funds, has been mired in controversy with allegations of impropriety against its directors regarding some of its investment decisions.

The commission is led by former Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Lex Mpati assisted by Marcus, and veteran asset manager, Emmanuel Lediga. 

Among the 16 Terms of Reference the Commission must probe, is whether any alleged impropriety regarding investment decisions by the PIC in media reports in 2017 and 2018 contravened any legislation.

The Commission is probing whether PIC policy or contractual obligations resulted in any undue benefit for any of its director, or employee or any associate or family member of any director or employee at the time.

- African News Agency (ANA)