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Urgent action must be taken against Iqbal Survé company to prevent further plundering of Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF)

While there are many questions surrounding Friday’s planned JSE listing of a new media company, which can partly only be made possible with money from the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), it is becoming increasingly clear that the GEPF is being plundered by means of numerous suspicious transactions.

The new media group, Sagarmatha Technologies, mainly belongs to the family trust of the executive chairman of Independent Media, Iqbal Survé.

Through the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) that manages the pension fund, the GEPF already holds a 25% share in Independent Media. According to media reports in Business Day, Independent Media finds itself in a financial crisis and it is hoped that selling Sagarmatha Technologies shares, after the company is listed on the JSE on Friday, will save Independent Media. It seems as if the plan is to incorporate Independent Media into Sagarmatha Technologies so that the newly-listed company can fund the sinking company.

There is, however, a problem with the listing of Sagarmatha Technologies because, according to reports, the company is technically insolvent and first needs to find private funding before it will be able to comply with the Financial Markets Act. The company must prove that it is capitalised with at least R500 million and chances are that the PIC was once again approached to invest in yet another Iqbal Survé venture.

For this reason, the FF Plus today addressed a letter to Mr Deon Botha, the head of corporate affairs at the PIC, asking whether the PIC will indeed buy the said shares. As yet, no response has been received.

If the PIC is indeed planning on buying Sagarmatha Technologies shares, the FF Plus will advise the GEPF pensioners to immediately obtain an interdict against the transaction.

Here follow a few examples that show how public servants’ pension money was misused for suspicious transactions over the last few years: (The fund, with an asset of R1,87 trillion, is the biggest investor in the country’s economy, which makes it an attractive target for exploitation.)

From the abovementioned, it is clear that many of the PIC’s transaction were not driven by healthy business considerations.

The FF Plus will continue to engage with the PIC management and will also continue to put pressure on the Minister in Parliament to put the GEPF under the jurisdiction and protection of the Pension Funds Adjudicator.

 

Contact numbers: 082 391 3117 / 065 801 7216

 

 

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