PIC Inquiry: Spectre of James Nogu exorcised
JOHANNESBURG – Allegations of corruption at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) contained in the anonymous emails from an alias James Nogu were on Tuesday brought into question after a lifestyle audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found they had no merit.
PwC performed background checks on former PIC chief executive Dan Matjila, suspended chief financial officer Matshepo More, former chairperson Mondli Gungubele and erstwhile board members Sibusisiwe Zulu and Dudu Hlatshwayo.
Evidence leader advocate Jannie Lubbe told Judge Lex Mpati’s commission into the PIC that the PwC investigation found no evidence of criminal conduct by the people fingered by Nogu.
“The finding was that there was no indication of criminal conduct regarding any of these individuals and he (the PwC investigator) could not find any substance to the allegations in the Nogu email implicating some of these people (to) receiving exuberant amounts of money from transactions from within the PIC,” Lubbe said.
“What he (PwC Investigator) can state and what I can place on record is that there is no evidence of any criminal conduct, and no evidence substantiating allegations by Nogu.”
Lubbe added that a separate investigation failed to uncover the real identity of Nogu. He said he held little hope that the identity of Nogu would ever be uncovered.
Matjila, in his lengthy testimony before the commission, said the PIC had been infiltrated by forces that sought to destabilise it. He testified that the catalyst of these divisions was James Nogu/Noko and the leaking of PIC’s confidential information to the media to destabilise the PIC.
Nogu sent anonymous emails in September 2017 in which he made the original claims that Matjila was corrupt and had funded an alleged girlfriend to the tune of R21 million, among other allegations.
In closing his testimony on Monday, Matjila said he wished that the PIC could attend to the Nogu matter.
“I wish my successors-in-title all the wisdom, forbearance and luck in achieving the vision and I pray that the spirit of ‘James Nogu’ has been cleansed from the corridors of the PIC forever,” Matjila said.
Zulu took the stand and gave her account of what transpired at the PIC during her stay on the board.
Zulu said she believed Matjila had made a stellar contribution to the PIC in his 15-year stay at the R2 trillion asset manager.
“I have a lot of respect for Dr Matjila, but having a lot of respect for someone does not mean you will agree with every decision they make,” Zulu said.
“I think he is a brilliant mathematician, a solid investment banker and added a lot of value at the PIC.”
Zulu was asked to take the commission into her confidence about allegations of a fear culture and victimisation at the PIC.
She said no formal complaint was ever brought forward, but that there was talk of a fear culture between the corridors at the asset manager.
Matjila has said he was taken aback by witness testimony that he was feared at the PIC.