Chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Group Dr Iqbal Surve at the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

PRETORIA – The JSE Listing in Sagarmatha technologies was scuppered by various players acting in bad faith.

This is according to Dr Iqbal Survé, the chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, which owns Sagarmatha and Ayo Technologies Limited (AYO) in his testimony at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Commission of Inquiry into impropriety, led by retired Judge Lex Mpati.

Survé believed that various entities such as, the Companies Intellectual and Properties Commission (CIPC) for reasons, which he believes were deceitful and were in bad faith, were part of the reason why the deal fell through. 

“The CIPC raised obstacles to the listing. This unseated foreign investors and the listing on the JSE was not pursued. Sagarmatha has applied to the South African Reserve Bank for authorisation for the listing to be done abroad,” he said.

Sagarmatha’s initial strategy was to raise between R3 billion and R7.5 billion through the JSE Listing as a pre-cursor to a much more substantial capital raise on a foreign exchange. The amount raised in South Africa would be one of many funding rounds required to execute Sagarmatha’s vision. 

“We had hoped that the PIC would commit to investing R3 billion, with other investors, including foreign investors who had committed to investing R4.5 billion,” said Survé. 

In his statement to the commission, Survé said the then CEO of Sagarmatha and its CFO, Paul Lamontagne & Takudzwa Hove respectively, were involved in the negotiations with the PIC and copies of the meetings with the PIC ought to be with the PIC secretariat. 

“Mr Lamontagne was subsequently appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada to head the First Development Bank of Canada, FINDEV. Mr Hove is currently the CFO of Sagarmatha and available to testify,” he said.

Sagarmatha, a Multi Sided Platform, has access to software providers and developers and advanced applications, because of the parent company Sekunjalo Group investments’ in local ICT companies, as well as in several multinationals operating in Africa.

These multinationals are in the areas of industrial, engineering, telecommunications, ICT companies and defence and radar systems (examples include Siemens AG, Nokia and Alcatel Lucent (Nokia), British Telecoms and Saab AB) and is therefore able to execute on the strategy for the African continent, he said.

Also, Sagarmatha has the skill-set to develop its technologies and has previously developed its technologies with its own capital, but it was time for significant scaling to go to the global markets, said Survé in his testimony.

Explaining the vision, Survé said the vision of Sagarmatha is to provide 100 million African subscribers (consumers and business) with a prime experience of digital media, e-commerce, social media and business market place.

“The mission is to execute this through Sagarmatha’s 10-point-plan achieved over a period of five to seven years, with a billion users on the social media platform in 10 years,” he said.

He added that Sagarmatha will provide the African middle-class consumer and business person, with an affordable, accessible, high quality, integrated multisided platform experience in content, ecommerce, social media and video - “Sagarmatha Peak”. Sagarmatha Peak seeks to become the branded ecommerce/media MSP company just as the likes of Amazon and Alibaba in the USA and China.

“In order to achieve its vision, significant capital is required at a low cost of capital,” he said.