Controversial businessman and Independent Media publisher Dr Iqbal Survé’s offices in Cape Town were raided by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) on Wednesday morning.
The FSCA is reportedly probing a case involving Survé’s company Sekunjalo Holdings allegedly irregular share trading against another of his companies, Ayo Technology Solutions.
In a statement, the FSCA said the operation was conducted as part of an investigation into allegations of prohibited trading practices (market manipulation), and possible contraventions of section 80 of the Financial Markets Act.
“The order for the search was granted by Justice Gamble of the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, 8 October 2019. It allows the FSCA to conduct the search over two days under the supervision of an independent attorney.”
The raid was confirmed in Independent Media’s own Business Report, who say the FSCA and members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) “pounced on the offices of Sekunjalo Holdings and African Equity Empowerment Investment (AEEI) without prior notice and tried to confiscate laptops and computer hard drives”.
Survé was not in the building at the time of the raid, which occurred at around 9am.
Business Report quotes Survé at length. The controversial businessman feels he is being unfairly targeted by the raid, which he called an “orchestrated campaign” against him, a “fishing expedition” and “an intimidation tactic”.
He added that he believes the raid represents a “concerted attempt by a cabal” to use state bodies in an attempt to intimidate him.
“We have no problem giving them information relating to Ayo had they simply asked for it,” Survé said.
“This is a desperate attempt to stop us from publishing the truth. Ironically, it is Sekunjalo that lodged a formal complaint with the FSCA against certain well-known hedge funds and asset managers that were trying to bring down Ayo’s share price,” Survé continued.
“Instead of investigating that, the FSCA is used to intimidate us into submission.”
Survé has claimed he is being targeted by powerful politicians in an attempt to silence his newspapers into not publishing stories that could damage President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister Pravin Gordhan and others aligned to them in the ANC and government.
Dr Survè, on FSCA raiding his office:
It's Pravin behind this
You went to 1st Judge, said no. 2nd Judge is Pravin & DA's friend
You're not taking my PA's laptop there's privileged info
It's fishing to get info we have on Pravin, Cyril. My reporters are to publish this weekend pic.twitter.com/pi3py3jDbu
— Izwe Lethu (@LandNoli) October 9, 2019
Ayo Technology Solutions was found at the judicial commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to have “stretched”, “thumbsucked” and “manipulated” its pre-listing valuation on the JSE.
Survé had told the PIC that he was “not involved in the Ayo listing”.
However, former Ayo chief investment officer (CIO) Malick Salie told the commission the Ayo team “had various interactions and meetings with Survé, who set the tone for the [pre-listing statement] and provided his expectation of the valuation of Ayo”.
Former Ayo CIO Siphiwe Nodwele said in April that Ayo’s valuation was inflated and that, according to his calculations, the company was valued at 5% of the final valuation, which is between R700 million and R1 billion.
“There has been so much talk about this valuation, and I have been curious to see how it has been developed, and it’s becoming clearer and clearer that things are being stretched a bit here,” said commission assistant Emmanuel Lediga.
Salie resigned from the board of Ayo at the beginning of May. He told the commission he was not comfortable in the current environment given the “pressures and governance issues that have arisen”.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Additional reporting, Tebogo Tshwane.)