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Rot is killing jobs

Aug 05 2018 05:45
Lesetja Malope

The Financial Planning Institute will shed staff through a retrenchment process following the shutdown of its exam unit, which is being investigated because of suspected corruption.

The institution, which is being probed by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), has told its staff that it will be undergoing a retrenchment process.

The institute did not know how many people would lose their jobs. But, it said, the exam section would be closed.

“The number of people who will be leaving our employ has not yet been ascertained as we are still in consultation with staff, executives and the board. This is an ongoing process.”

The institute employs 53 permanent and contract staff.

In June the FSCA instructed the institute to stop offering regulatory exams.

The institute then withdrew its licence to offer the exams and the exams are being conducted now by Cape Town-based company Moonstone.

When the institute withdrew its licence it had to close a department that no longer had a function and needed to reallocate its resources. This was why the institute was restructuring and retrenching people.

The institute had to refocus its operations as a professional body.

“While being suspended as an examination body it could not fulfil its obligations of maintaining the integrity of the examinations or avoid inconvenience to current and prospective examination candidates,” it said.

According to the FSCA’s divisional executive for regulatory policy, Caroline da Silva, the exact time frame of the probe was not known. “The investigation is ongoing and at this stage there is no estimated time frame for the completion date.

“Our inspectorate department usually provides the investigation report only to the investigated party and the authority.

“Then, if there is any material information to report, the authority will issue a press release,” she said.

The withdrawal was communicated by the chairperson of the institute’s board in writing to the FSCA on July 2.

Regulatory exams 

The reason given for the withdrawal was that the board had concluded the institute could not offer and oversee regulatory examinations with integrity, Da Silva said.

The institution’s suspended CEO, Godfrey Nti, is said to have tendered his resignation even though an investigation into alleged mismanagement of his personal expense account was not complete.

Nti was placed on special leave two months ago in June.

Nti declined to confirm or deny that he had resigned and said the matter was being handled by the institute.

But he said on Thursday he was still an employee at the institute.

A formal statement was expected to be issued by the institute’s board about Nti’s exit, according to three sources close to the institute.

Asked for details about Nti’s matter, the institute refused to give more details.

“Under a binding legal agreement the institute is not in a position to reply to your enquiries at this time.

“The institute will issue a press statement in this regard shortly and you are invited to address your enquiries in relation to that statement to us upon its release.

“We urge you to refrain from airing speculation on this matter further until the formal statement,” the institute said.

Meanwhile, evidence has surfaced that shows the chief operating officer and acting CEO Stephanie Pillay advised businessperson Warren Daniel to adjust his invoice to within a certain amount to bag a contract.

The allegation of Pillay colluding with Daniel, which surfaced on social media more than a month ago, was initially denied by the organisation.

But City Press has seen an email in which Pillay advises Daniel, the owner of Big Bite Consulting, to adjust his invoice to be “within R90 000 as per their earlier discussion”.

“As per our discussion, I am prepared to proceed with a brand audit at the total cost of R90 000. Please may I request an amendment of your invoice to reflect such,” said the email sent by Pillay to Daniel on May 27.

Daniel’s response was that institute chairperson Ntai Phoofolo had previously denied allegations of impropriety when the issue came up on social media.

In a previous interview with City Press, Phoofolo said he was assured there was no substance to the allegation.

According to three independent sources, Daniel and Pillay are familiar with each other and Daniel had even visited the institute’s office a number of times.

Pillay denied she knew Daniel personally.

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