UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa laid bare a series of major PIC transactions in a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: Masi Losi/African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA – The Lebashe Investment Group has strongly refuted and expressed disappointment with the allegations made by United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa, describing them as unfounded and reckless.

The UDM leader was testifying before the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) on Wednesday, led by Justice Lex Mpati. 

Holomisa told the commission that Lebashe reportedly obtained a loan from the PIC for rapid expansion, with said loan having reportedly already repaid. “This may raise questions regarding the basis for the PIC granting a loan to Lebashe when key former PIC individuals are controlling and owning Lebashe. The value of the loan is unknown.” 

Lebashe said in a statement that its dealings with the PIC were above board and in line with the relevant corporate governance regulations. “In the interest of transparency, we previously stated that we are willing to provide access to Holomisa or any other interested South African regarding our dealings with the PIC.”

Holomisa made the same allegations in the Pretoria High Court last year. After Lebashe addressed the allegations, Judge Tlhapi, in a written judgement ruled in Lebashe’s favour and declared Holomisa’s allegations to be unfounded remarks as no evidence to support the allegations were submitted to the Court. 

Lebashe said Holomisa’s modus operandi was also evident at the PIC Inquiry as the same allegations were made without any supporting evidence.

“To this end, we have instructed our attorneys to approach the Commission to seek clarity on why the affected parties were not informed of Holomisa’s evidence beforehand in compliance with the rules governing the proceedings of the PIC Inquiry. 

“Our attorneys will also inform the commission about the decision of the High Court which granted an order in favour of Lebashe interdicting Holomisa from making further defamatory statements. 

“Our attorneys are preparing an application in terms of the rules governing the PIC Commission of Inquiry for the right to cross examine Holomisa as a result of the prejudice suffered by Lebashe as consequence of not having received prior written notice. 

“Importantly, further legal proceedings were instituted by us in the High Court, subsequent to Holomisa’s application for leave to appeal the ruling of the same court, in which damages are being claimed as a result of the reputational harm caused by his defamatory allegations,” reads Lebashe’s statement.

Lebashe said it had instructed its attorneys to bring an urgent application to enforce the Court Order pending the outcome of the appeal, adding that “Holomisa’s ongoing defamation campaign is harming our businesses and has no truth nor credibility”.

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