BL Premium reports that the board of trustees of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) says it has not failed in its responsibility to look after the interests of its 1,7 million members and pensioners.
This is despite numerous revelations of impropriety emanating from the commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). The GEPF entrusts the state-owned asset manager to directly and indirectly manage its entire R1,8 trillion fund which accounts for about 88% of the funds the PIC manages.
Several serious allegations of wrongdoing have been levelled against senior executives at the PIC since the inquiry began its hearings in January. But, the GEPF maintains that its relationship with the PIC is at “arm’s length” in commercial terms and despite it being the asset manager’s largest client, has not appeared to censure the PIC in any way.
Questions were posed after the conclusions of hearings at the commission and in the wake of an investigation into the controversial R120 million fee paid by Steinhoff to businessman Jayendra Naidoo. The fee was arguably owed to the GEPF for its role in providing funds for Naidoo’s consortium to buy shares in the furniture retailer in September 2016.
“The PIC invests on behalf of the GEPF. It is for the PIC to recover any fees that are recoverable in the course of the investments that it makes,” the board stated.
The issue has brought focus to the question of exactly who is at risk when the GEPF fails to earn fees or obtain enough investment returns as a result of impropriety or negligence at the PIC.