Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced that he had set up a Commission of Inquiry into allegations of impropriety regarding the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and gave it six months to complete the investigation.
The PIC, the biggest asset manager in Africa and manages almost R2 trillion in government pension and other funds, has been mired in controversy with allegations of impropriety against its directors regarding some of its investment decisions.
Former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Lex Mpati, was discharged from active service to be inquiry's commissioner and would be assisted by former Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus, and veteran asset manager, Emmanuel Lediga.
Among the 16 Terms of Reference the Commission must probe, is whether any alleged impropriety regarding investment decisions by the PIC in media reports in 2017 and 2018 contravened any legislation.
The Commission must also probe whether PIC policy or contractual obligations resulted in any undue benefit for any PIC director, or employee or any associate or family member of any PIC director or employee at the time.
Ramaphosa also wants the Commission to probe whether investment decisions at PIC resulted from ineffective governance and/or functioning by the board, or whether any PIC director or employee used his or her position or privileges, or confidential information for personal gain or to improperly benefit another person.
Ramaphosa said that the Commission must, in its enquiry for the purpose of its findings, report and recommendations, consider the period of January 1, 2015 to August 31, 2018.
The Commission was also given leeway to investigate and make findings and recommendations on, any other matter regarding the PIC, regardless of when it is alleged to have occurred on the applicable dates between 2015 and 2017.
Ramaphosa gave the Commission short and strict deadlines, saying that it must submit an interim report to him by not later than February 15, 2019, and a final report by not later than April 15, 2019.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) said they welcome the probe though they have a few concerns about its terms of reference.
David Maynier, DA spokesman on finance, said: "The terms of reference limit the scope of the inquiry to the period between 01 January 2015 and 31 August 2018, which may have the effect of excluding a number of the questionable investments from scrutiny, including the investment in Independent Media, which was concluded on 16 August 2013, by the Public Investment Corporation.
"We think there are few things that will terrify the governing party more than a full-scale independent inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation."
African News Agency/ANA