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Trilinear trustees rolling in clover

Nov 13 2011 13:46
Nellie Brand Jonker

Cape Town – The trustees of the Trilinear Empowerment Trust (TET) have been royally compensated at R62 500 per Trustees meeting.

This amounted to R250 000 a year if four meetings were held.

The role played by the trustees in looking after investments made by TET has become mired in controversy.

More than R400m worth of clothing workers' retirement funds put into the trust may be lost because of the nature of the investments made.

Sharon February, former president of the African Farmers' Union and currently a director of Vinpro, last week testified in the inquiry into the affairs of the liquidated company Canyon Springs about the apparent sense of “unease” about the high remuneration. “I felt it was excessive.”

At the first trustee meeting in 2007 the issue of whether the investors were happy with the situation arose.

Richard Kawie, at that stage Sactwu retirement funds consultant, and Sam Buthelezi from the trust's asset manager, Trilinear, apparently reassured her that it was in line with what trustees were paid.

In February Kawie was recruited as a trustee. During the inquiry she was shown a statement that indicated she had received more than R417 000 from the trust.

Thembekile Monroe Mkalipi, former chairperson of Cosatu and the clothing workers union Sactwu in the Western Cape, was shown a statement indicating that he had received R391 000.

Vuyisile Kona received more than R333 000. He had apparently been recruited by Buthelezi and become a trustee mid- 2008.

Kona said that they would meet for two 18-hour days, four times a year, when the performance of the investments would be examined.

During the enquiry more information came to light regarding an investment management agreement between the TET and the asset management company Trilinear Capital.

This involved Trilinear being able to make investments as it saw fit, but having to report back to the trustees.

When they were given feedback, the trustees discussed the investments and asked questions, February testified.

Canyon Springs was liquidated by the TET trustees because it was unable to repay a R100m-odd loan owed to the trust. The trustees claimed that they never knew that Canyon Springs and the company indicated in the Trilinear investment reports as “Finco” were one and the same company. This apparently only came to light last year.

Sharon February, former president of the African Farmers’ Union and currently a Vinpro director.

Thembekile Monroe Mkalipi, a TET trustee from 2007 until recently.

 - Sake24

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