CAPE TOWN – JSE-listed AYO Technology Solutions (AYO) said on Tuesday that it was beyond shocked by allegations that the company was siphoning money offshore and strongly rejected any claims that it was engaged in any such activity.
This after a parliamentary session where the Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC) acting executive head of legal counsel, governance and compliance, Lindiwe Dlamini, said the PIC was looking at instituting court action against AYO, with a view to halting the alleged siphoning of funds offshore by AYO.
In a statement, AYO chairperson Dr. Wallace Mgoqi said these comments and allegations were reckless, entirely without merit and wholly inappropriate.
“They are downright dangerous. AYO, as any company operating in South Africa today, would need to apply to the SA Reserve Bank to obtain the proper regulatory approval to engage in a transaction of this nature. AYO has not made any application for Reserve Bank approval, nor does it intend to do so.
“This is yet another attempt to portray AYO in a negative light and in order to force Parliament’s hand. The PIC has no evidence on which it can have based its thinking and as such has blatantly lied to Parliament,” said Mgoqi.
AYO maintained that it was entitled to retain the funds the PIC legally invested in the tech firm at the time of listing.
“Those funds, as we have said on numerous occasions, are secure. However, AYO and the PIC are currently in litigation with one another, with AYO also preparing to launch an action against the PIC.
“For the record, the reasons the PIC invested in AYO in the first place, remain.
“AYO’s business proposition to transform the ICT sector in this country is sound and continues to be the ethos by which the company operates,” said Mgoqi in the statement.
In a separate statement the Sekunjalo Group – which also has an interest in AYO – demanded that the PIC’s Dlamini immediately retract her statement to Parliament yesterday that Sekunjalo owed the PIC money.
“Sekunjalo has zero exposure to the PIC. This has been communicated to the PIC’s attorney in the past,” Sekunjalo chairperson Dr. Iqbal Survé said.
He said Dlamini had deliberately and willingly misinformed Parliament.
“Ms. Dlamini’s statement to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance today (Tuesday), inferring that Sekunjalo owes monies to do with an August 2013 loan is utter rubbish.
“To the contrary, Sekunjalo has invested into companies in which the PIC is a shareholder and has, in fact, loaned those companies money to assist in their operation and growth,” Survé said.
He said Dlamini was well aware of the fact that the special purpose vehicle, Sekunjalo Independent Media (SIM), created with the purpose of securing Independent Media, was an entirely different juristic entity.
Survé said that the Sekunjalo Group was a creditor, just like the asset manager, when it came to SIM.
Sekunjalo said to suggest that there was any basis on which the PIC could liquidate Sekunjalo was deceitful, reckless and yet another example of how desperate the PIC and politically connected parties were to destroy and destabilise the business.
“Today’s comments and last week’s FSCA raid are not unrelated; they have been purposefully designed to cause maximum harm to Sekunjalo and me, but we will not be intimidated.
“We trust that Dlamini will publicly correct her falsehood and do so within the next 24 hours, failing which we will proceed with the appropriate action,” said Survé.
This story first appeared in the Business Report Online