The Sekunjalo Group issued a statement on Sunday afternoon in reaction to what it calls a “highly defamatory article” published in the Sunday Times on Sunday about the Sekunjalo Group investee company AYO Technology Solutions (AYO).

The newspaper reported on Sunday that African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) founder Iqbal Survé used the R4.3bn in government pension money that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) put into Ayo Technology as “his own personal piggy bank”.

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Survé is a shareholder in Ayo Technology through AEEI.

In its statement Sekunjalo points out that Sunday Times is part of the Tiso Blackstar Group, a direct competitor of Independent Media.

“The Sunday Times did not give the Sekunjalo investee companies, AYO and AEEI boards or management teams reasonable time to respond as is required by the Press Code,” Sekunjalo claims in the statement.

“In almost all instances these articles were defamatory, without substance and taken out of context, with the sole intent of damaging Dr Iqbal Survé and that of the Sekunjalo Group and the investee companies, AEEI and AYO.”

According to the statement, Sekunjalo Group companies will issue a comprehensive media statement on Monday, dealing with each claim made by the Sunday Times.

Once all the Sekunjalo Group investee companies’ boards mentioned in the Sunday Times article have met to discuss the matter, a national media conference will be called on the allegations.

Fin24 reported earlier that the PIC is being probed through a commission of inquiry around its operations and the circumstances surrounding investments that have raised misgivings about the investment company’s governance, including dealings with Ayo Technology.

The Sunday Times claims that the PIC invested the R4.3bn in a 29% stake in the company (or R43 per share) when its real value was at 15 cents per share.

The Sunday Times cites emails, board meeting resolutions and voice recordings, which, it claims, point to attempts to transfer huge parts of the R4.3bn from PIC out of Ayo’s account into other companies owned by Survé.

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