PIC board offers to resign en masse amid allegations

By Janice Kew

(Bloomberg) – The Public Investment Corp.’s board offered to resign en masse amid an inquiry into allegations of wrongdoing at Africa’s biggest money manager, including chairman and South African Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele.

The manager of government worker pension funds has been “destabilised” and the subject of “an attempt to bring the institution into a state of paralysis,” Gungubele and eight other directors said in a co-signed letter to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. They are prepared to stay on until a new board is appointed.

The government-owned PIC is the subject of an ongoing inquiry into various investment decisions, including in the bonds of Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and technology company Ayo Technology Solutions Ltd. In the past year, half of the PIC’s executive committee have been suspended or resigned, including ex-Chief Executive Officer Daniel Matjila.

“These events have been unbearable to us as individuals and have undoubtedly had a negative impact on our professional integrity,” the board members said. “There has also been various allegations against at least four directors for now. Our assessment is that this may not be the end.”

The PIC invests more than R2trn ($150bn) in government pension and other social funds.