UIF seeks assurance after AYO 'debacle'

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PIC's R4.3 billion investment in AYO Technologies had for some time been flagged as controversial.
PIC's R4.3 billion investment in AYO Technologies had for some time been flagged as controversial.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is engaging the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to seek assurance the fund's investment portfolio is safe.

This follows the suspension of officials at the PIC for allegedly flouting governance and approval processes in the R4.3 billion investment in AYO Technologies.

In a statement, UIF says it respects that the suspensions are an internal matter between employer and employee.

"However, the UIF has started engaging the PIC to seek assurance that the fund's investment portfolio is safe and has not been negatively impacted by the debacle," it says.

"The UIF is closely monitoring and supports the commission of inquiry currently under way to investigate allegations of impropriety at the PIC."

The UIF is a public entity of the Department of Labour whose mandate is to provide short-term relief to workers who qualify for benefits.

The PIC this week suspended two of its executives after an investigation into the investment in JSE-listed AYO Technology.

PIC is a South African state-owned entity with over R2 trillion of assets under management as of 31 March 2018. It is Africa's largest asset manager and is responsible for investing the South African Government Employees Pension Fund.

The PIC invested in a 29% stake in AYO when it listed on the JSE in December 2017.

Lufuno Nemagovhani, head of internal audits at the PIC, yesterday detailed how the state-run asset manager's R4.3 billion acquisition of shares in AYO Technology Solutions was approved without following due process, describing the procedure as an anomaly.

He alleged the investment in AYO Technologies had been flagged as controversial for some time due to the high valuation placed on the stock at its listing.

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