Johannesburg - The DA says it will request that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane investigate the Public Investment Corporation's (PIC) involvement in an investment deal linked to Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's son.
The party said despite Nene's denial that he never acted inappropriately while he was the deputy minister of finance and the chair of the PIC, the allegations against him were too serious and need to be investigated.
David Maynier, a DA member of Parliament, said he would request that Mkhwebane investigate the deal in terms of Section 4 of the Executive Members Act (no 82 of 1998). This is to determine if there was any breach of the ethics code that applies to ministers and their deputies, said Maynier.
The Mail&Guardian reported that the PIC spent millions investing in a company that was introduced to the corporation by Siyabonga Nene and his business partner Muhammad Amir Mirza.
The two had approached the PIC, through their company Indiafrec Trade and Investment, asking for the fund manager to fund the purchase of shares in a Mozambique company called S&S Refinery LDA.
At the time of the request Nhanhla Nene, Siyabonga’s father was the deputy minister of finance and as result the chairman of the PIC. The PIC manages funds on behalf of the Government pension fund and the Unemployment Insurance Fund. It often invests the funds in various business opportunities.
While the deal was being considered, Siyabonga was later “removed” from the company and Mirza roped in as the main shareholder of the shares to be acquired along with the PIC.
Mirza was later paid $3.3 million as part of an exit package from the deal with PIC after he was not part of the main shareholders. This deal was negotiated by the PIC chief executive Dan Matjila. Mirza was also paid R18.5 million as part of a “referral” fee for introducing the acquisition of a stake in S&S Refinery LDA to the PIC, the Mail&Guardian reported.
The minister has since spoken out about the allegations. He said he welcomes the state capture inquiry's commitment that it would look into the allegations against him.
“On the allegations currently in circulation about me and my family, I am glad that the commission of Inquiry into State Capture has undertaken to investigate them. I would encourage anyone who has evidence in this regard to hand it over to the commission. As I said on Wednesday, I stand ready to assist the Commission in its investigation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the EFF has called on Nene to resign as the party believes his continued stay as the minister is not in the best interest of the country.