Government Employee Pension Fund was ‘not involved’ in Ayo deal

The PIC, which manages more than a trillion-rand of the GEPF funds, invested R4.3 billion in Ayo Technologies in December 2017.

A screengrab of Abel Sithole, principal executive officer of the Government Employees Pension Fund, at the PIC inquiry on 15 July 2019.

PRETORIA - The Government Employee Pension Fund's (GEPF) principle officer said the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) did not consult with it prior to making an investment in Ayo Technologies.

Abel Sithole made the revelation on Monday at the commission of inquiry which was being chaired by former Supreme Court Judge Lex Mpati in Pretoria.

The PIC, which manages more than a trillion-rand of the GEPF funds, invested R4.3 billion in Ayo Technologies in December 2017 and was the subject of the Mpati commission.

Iqbal Surve's company, which fall under the Sekunjalo Group, has been accused of artificially inflating its valuation.

Sithole said the investment in Ayo came as a surprise.

“The PIC did not involve or inform the GEPF when it considered and made the investment in Ayo. It did not highlight this investment in its subsequent report to the fund. It only started responding to questions asked by the GEPF when the fund learnt about the investment and the questions that were asked in its evaluation.”

However, Sithole said the pension fund was for the most part satisfied with the manner in which the PIC has managed its funds.