Questions raised about PIC deal involving Nhlanhla Nene's son
Johannesburg - Days after Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene denied acting inappropriately in deals involving the PIC for the benefit of his family, fresh allegations have emerged about a business deal involving his son.
The Mail&Guardian has reported that the Public Investment Corporation 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 millions were paid by the PIC into an offshore bank account opened in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The fresh accusations about Nene’s possible involvement in the deal and the possible conflict of interest, follow his shocking testimony at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday.
Nene had been facing criticism from the EFF who claimed he was not being truthful in his involvement with Gupta family. The party also claimed Nene had used the PIC to benefit his family and the Guptas.
The minister denied these claims while testifying at the inquiry.
“I deny that I have ever acted inappropriately with regard to any investments made by the PIC. I deny any and every allegation that I knowingly acted to promote any funding from the PIC for any business involving my son,” he said.