SCoF hears how AYO became a victim of institutional actions
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CAPE TOWN – JSE-listed Ayo Technology Solutions (AYO), on Wednesday told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance (SCoF) that the tech investment firm was a victim of several institutional actions, such as being unfairly censured with fines, which made no sense.
AYO chairperson Dr Wallace Mgoqi cited another example whereby the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), without any rational basis and precedent, had launched a litigation case against AYO. CIPC lost the case.
Mgoqi said that in the spirit of transparency, AYO had welcomed the commission of inquiry into alleged impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and had voluntarily sent executives to be fully transparent in their engagement with the commission, chaired by Justice Lex Mpati.
He said the AYO board was shocked at the intense focus on AYO at the commission, when compared to other companies, but that their presentation to SCoF was intended to talk about the outcome of the PIC Commission, except to reinforce the point there was no evidence of corruption pertaining to AYO contained in the report.
“The investment was presented to the PIC by the AYO corporate investment team, including the newly recruited chief executive from a multinational, and executives with a combined value of 75 years (experience) in the ICT sector, presented to peers.
“Experienced PIC analysts with 50 years’ experience and together saw the business case for the ICT investment and transformation. Hearsay and unsubstantiated claims were made by people at the commission,” said Mgoqi.
He said AYO chose to deal with the facts instead of gossip. “AYO is confident, notwithstanding the negative publicity, that it will be successful in any litigation by the PIC or any other party.
“AYO’s position remains that it has done nothing wrong and is a victim of a smear campaign by hidden hands,” said Mgoqi.
The AYO board chairperson told the SCoF that the PIC initially insisted that the British Telecom (BT) investment form part of the AYO listing and significant capital was earmarked for the BT investment, which was the foundation for a multinational customer acquisition strategy.
The PIC, however, scuppered the BT investment, by relying on negative media reports
“Without PIC support, the BT company decided to withdraw from engagement with AYO. We fear that that there is a hidden hand that used the commission to smear AYO and that continues to direct activities to undermine the business and reputation of AYO,” said Mgoqi.
In its presentation, AYO noted it has lost normal business which it had, prior to listing, to the tune of R1.3 billion, in the public and private sector and has faced cancellation of banking facilities.