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Top PIC executive axed over Ayo investment

Mar 02 2020 17:14
Marelise van der Merwe

The Public Investment Corporation has terminated the employment contract of Executive Head of Listed Investments Fidelis Madavo, it said in a statement on Monday.

Madavo was suspended on 22 January 2019 based on a preliminary report into the PIC's investment in Ayo Technology Solutions, Fin24 previously reported.

The PIC controversially decided to underwrite AYO’s entire private share placement before its listing in late 2017 with a R4.3 billion injection, despite internal concerns that it was overvalued. Madavo was among the employees implicated in irregularities identified in an internal PIC probe into the corporation's investment in Ayo in 2017.

"The preliminary report had indicated that governance and PIC approval processes had been disregarded when the transaction was concluded. Upon receipt of the preliminary report, the PIC instituted a disciplinary process against Mr. Madavo, which was chaired by an independent Chairman, who is also a Senior Counsel.

"After representations from both the PIC and Mr. Madavo, the Chairman recommended that Mr. Madavo be relieved of his duties on the basis of gross misconduct," the PIC said on Monday.

The board welcomed the decision and viewed it as "an important step towards efforts to restore ethical behaviour and good corporate governance", the statement added.

Madavo previously told the commission of inquiry tasked with probing governance and investment at the PIC that the AYO transaction took place when he was out of the country, Fin24 reported. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the inquiry in mid-August 2018, following allegations of mismanagement and poor governance. 

"I was not around, but as the head of the division I was suspended," Madavo said.

Assistant portfolio manager Victor Seanie told Fin24 in October 2019 - a day after after a disciplinary process found him guilty of charges of "breaching the PIC's internal policies in investment decisions" that he was the "fall guy". Seanie had been suspended along with Madavo. 

Former CEO Dan Matjila resigned from the PIC. He, too, denied wrongdoing with regard to the AYO deal. 

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