AYO, Survé hit back: Nothing untoward about 'informal' PIC discussion

A secret recording, revealing that businessman Dr Iqbal Survé colluded with board members of Ayo Technologies to secure an investment from the Public Investment Corporation, was nothing more than an "informal discussion" and those implicated have nothing to hide.

This is according to a joint statement from the boards of African Equity Empowerment Investment (AEEI), Ayo Technologies, Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and Survé, issued on Monday afternoon.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Survé and some Ayo board members had discussed withholding information from the PIC, which eventually led to the PIC making a R4.3bn investment in the IT company.

The PIC manages R2trn worth of investments, with the Government Employee Pension Fund as its biggest client.

'Unfair treatment'

"There is not a single lie that has been told to the PIC, as has been suggested in the press report, and the Sekunjalo Group, AEEI, AYO and Dr Survé continue to feel aggrieved by this unfair treatment in the public domain," the statement read.

The recording was made by one of the former AYO executives, and was made without permission by participants, the statement added.

"Having said that, the meeting was an informal discussion between senior executives in charge of the various parties to this statement and despite the recording having been made without their permission, the participants have nothing to hide based on the contents of what was said during this confidential meeting."

The discussion relates to a transaction that would see AYO acquire AEEI's 30% stake in BT South Africa. However, the transaction was not successful and executives got together to discuss the next steps, the statement indicated.

"This is not unusual in any business situation. The parties got together to sift fact from fiction, face to face."

"The contents of the recorded meeting clearly show that it was nothing but an attempt by the executives of AEEI and AYO to get together in pursuit of a transaction they were tying to secure and to jointly exercise and fulfil their fiduciary duties to ensure the protection of their respective companies shareholders and other stakeholders."

According to the statement, the former executives who were present at the meeting did not agree on a proposed strategy as a way forward and subsequently resigned.

The statement concluded by saying the former executives had been attempting to secure an "unreasonable payout" from AYO, which was unsuccessful.