Commission ‘cannot hang me in public and leave me there’

Commission ‘cannot hang me in public and leave me there’

Kholofelo Maponya has accused the commission of abusing its power and says he will ‘challenge the judge’s bona fides’. Image: Moneyweb

Unclear whether alleged extortionist in PIC/SA Home Loans deal will have his day of redemption.

The Commission of Inquiry into governance issues at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is still considering an aggrieved businessman’s request to provide oral evidence, after he was gravely implicated in testimony before the inquiry.

When the commission officially ended its public hearings in August, Kholofelo Maponya slammed it for not giving him an opportunity to defend himself – despite providing it with an affidavit as early as July.

Initially, the commission had resolved to publish Maponya’s affidavit on its website, but this was halted by a letter from his lawyers who demanded that it not be uploaded without him appearing before the commission.

In his closing statements, commission leader Judge Lex Mpati said where it was “absolutely necessary” there would be further hearings. Meanwhile, evidence leader Advocate Jannie Lubbe, in response to Maponya’s ire, said he would, as far as possible, help Maponya to appear before the commission in September.

With less than two weeks left to the end of the month and a looming deadline for the commission to submit its final report to President Cyril Ramaphosa by October 31, it is still unclear whether he will have his day to testify.

Application denied

Maponya claims that he was informed by one of the commission’s investigators that he would not be given an opportunity to give testimony before the commission.

“It is injustice and I will challenge the judge’s bona fides,” Maponya told Moneyweb.

He said that if he is not granted a hearing he will explore legal recourse. “They cannot hang me in public and then leave me there.”

In an emailed response the commission said it is still considering Maponya’s statement and is in discussions with his legal team.

“Once the judge has made his final decision, it will be communicated to Mr Maponya and his legal team,” it added.

Implicated

Several PIC employees and clients who have testified before the commission have implicated Maponya in wrongdoing and governance breaches in a number of investments he has with the PIC, which manages just under R2 trillion in government worker pension funds.

The scandal, which has received significant attention, involves an investment the PIC has with mortgage company SA Home Loans, where Maponya is a shareholder.

It is alleged that Maponya attempted to extort close to R45 million as a finder’s fee from the company in relation to a R9 billion credit facility the PIC had extended to SA Home Loans. The matter has since been reported to the hawks.

Maponya has denied these claims.

Political players not called either

A number of senior politicians and politically-connected individuals, who have also been implicated, have not been called to respond to the allegations before Judge Mpati either.

The commission said that due to “severe time constraints” it is unlikely that there would be further public hearings but it would “monitor the situation”.

The commission began its formal public hearings in January and has heard testimony from 77 witnesses. It will have to submit its final report with findings and recommendations to Ramaphosa in just over a month. The report’s initial deadline was April 15. This was extended to July 31, and again to the end of October, due to growing evidence as the commission conducted its investigations.

But Maponya says the commission cannot prioritise submitting a report based on an “unfair and incomplete process”.

“The president started a process which involves other people – he did not say go and disregard the rights of other people,” he says, adding that the submission deadline is not set in stone.

“This is maladministration and abuse of power of the highest order.”

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