Oops! We’ve lost R4 billion

Staff Writer | May 30, 2019
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has no documents to support the rationale and the process of its almost R4 billion investment in Camac Energy (now Erin Energy).

Despite investing $270m (R3.9 billion) in Camac, it has emerged that the PIC has no documents to show how or why it made the investment. 

Camac was founded by Nigerian businessman Kase Lawal, who was allegedly an African National Congress (ANC) donor and accompanied former president Jacob Zuma in 2014 to Texas Southern University to receive an honorary degree. The university is Lawal’s alma mater.

No documents or minutes of meetings relating to the Camac investment have been received by Mpati Commission evidence leader, Advocate Jannie Lubbe SC. The Commission, headed by Supreme Court of Appeal judge president, is probing allegations of impropriety at the PIC.

The PIC supported Camac’s listing in 2014. The PIC also issued a guarantee for R1.4 billion to facilitate a loan Camac was trying to obtain from the Mauritian Commercial Bank despite being advised not to do so by its executive responsible for oil investment.

Former PIC CEO Dr Dan Matjila was one of the signatories on the letters to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) supporting Camac’s listing.

The New York Stock Exchange suspended trading Camac shares in 2018, followed by the JSE. Camac subsequently filed for bankruptcy. It isn’t clear whether the PIC guarantee has been drawn on.

The PIC is Africa’s largest asset manager, responsible for investing the funds of South Africa’s government employees. It was established in 1911 and now manages – some would say mismanages – over R2 trillion. It is wholly owned by the South African government, so the extraordinary corruption evident at the PIC once again falls on the South African taxpayer.

The PIC’s and its executives’ bankruptcy goes way beyond that governed by the Insolvency Act.


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