Gill Marcus, Justice Lex Mpati and Emmanuel Lediga at the PIC Commission of Inquiry. PIC development manager Alvin Schiel said on Wednesday that there were rumours of individuals being called to account after having appeared before the PIC Commission of Inquiry to give evidence. Photo: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA – Development manager at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Alvin Schiel, said on Wednesday that there were rumours of individuals being called to account after having appeared before the PIC Commission of Inquiry to give evidence.

Schiel made this startling revelation during his appearance before the commission where he said whether real or not the rumour in itself was intimidating for most.

Schiel also said: “Though much fanfare was made about the whistleblowers' hotline including emails and randomly placed signs, I don’t believe anyone trusted it.”

He gave the following reasons: 

Little to no significant audit findings: Despite many knowing of many questionable deals or breaches of policy, audit never seemed to flag significant issues. 

Auditor General: The AG audits similarly seemed to never find significant issues, rather it was well known that Auditors from the AG were treated with contempt and in most cases sent packing in no uncertain terms, perceived or fact the outcome was the same, staff don’t trust their independence. 

Board: Over the years issues like AYO, as is before the commission, were sent back for “ratification” whereas the reality was there appeared to be significant policy and controls breach, in other words rather than take action board might “fix” effectively neutralising the whistleblower. In other words, the board was seen to cover for its mistakes amounting to billions with a simple fix like ratification while staff were fired or taken to DC for minor policy infractions with little or no actual damages being suffered. 

Perceived witch hunts: For example when issues first got flagged in the media with regard to questionable transactions which pointed the finger at the CEO, the company reaction was not one of transparency. Rather it shut like a clam, access to multiple sites and services like web-based mail servers were shut down. Within a few weeks, emails surfaced that the CEO had requested access to Mimecast to investigate the leaks. To the staff, this just proved that rather than be open to a transparent independent investigation those fingered were personally searching for evidence. The message was was clear whistle blow at your peril.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE