Tue, 20 Aug 2019

AYO Technology Solutions says it is "utterly dismayed" by the implication that its employee Naahied Gamieldien may face internal company repercussions for testifying at the commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation.

The commission is investigating allegations of wrongdoing at the PIC, which manages R2.2trn in investments on behalf of public servants.

Gamieldien, who is currently AYO's executive responsible for business transformation, was subpoenaed to appear before the inquiry on Wednesday. She also briefly served as the group's CEO when Kevin Hardy stepped down last year.

She told the commission on Wednesday that R70m was transferred from AYO to two companies linked to Iqbal Surve, the executive chair of Sekunjalo, the day after AYO listed on the JSE in late December 2017.

AYO listed on the JSE in December 2017, with the PIC subscribing to all its available shares for R4.3bn. Sekunjalo holds a 30% stake in AYO via its subsidiary African Equity Empowerment Investments.

When proceedings ended on Wednesday, the commission's chair and former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Lex Mpati, thanked Gamieldien for her testimony, adding he hoped that "nothing untoward will happen to you."

This concern was shared by the two assistant commissioners.

'Totally unfounded'

But in a statement on Wednesday AYO said the implication that Gamieldien would face repercussions was "totally unfounded".

"AYO wishes to confirm that it is in full support of any of its employees and associates called to testify at these hearings, and that the company encourages them to be open and honest in their testimony, should they participate," it said.

"In this light, AYO categorically confirms that no negative repercussions will be levelled against any employee who truthfully testifies at any commission of inquiry."

In response to a separate request about why R70m was transferred to investment companies the day after it listed, AYO said, "AYO is confident that all governance matters have been met in relation to 3 Laws Capital and as previously stated, it has no outstanding mandates with 3 Laws Capital."

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange announced last week that it had ordered AYO to urgently engage with its external auditors over its interim results after the commission heard evidence of tampering.

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