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'Independent Media staff on Ayo's payroll' - Survé reportedly rerouting PIC cash

20 February 2020 12:26 PM
Tags:
PIC
Independent media group
Iqbal Survé
amaBhungane
Ayo Technologies
investigative journalist
PIC funding
Dewald van Rensburg

A report by AmaBhungane has uncovered how Iqbal Survé has been redirecting PIC funding to keep Independent Media afloat.

It's understood that Survé’s embattled businesses have quietly been rerouting money scored from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to apparently pay Independent newspapers’ staff.

It appears that Survé's Sekunjalo Investment Holdings (which owns a large stake of Independent Media) has been benefitting from the R4.3 billion that the PIC invested in his other company, Ayo Technology Solutions in 2017.

AmaBhungane investigative journalist Dewald van Rensburg reports that Ayo has started using some of the PIC cash to cover some of Independent's expenses.

READ THE FULL STORY: How PIC’s R4.3bn Ayo investment is being spent on Independent Media’s bills, Survé’s properties and Friends of Iqbal

Van Rensburg says there is an "incestuous relationship" between Survé's embattled businesses, although they are completely unrelated.

The only common denominator is that Survé is a direct shareholder in both companies.

However, there is no obvious justification for Ayo to bail out Independent, Van Rensburg explains.

Payroll documents show that more than 40 employees of Independent were being paid through Ayo last year.

Van Rensburg says it seems Survé is trying to avoid incurring more debt while the PIC threatens to claw back all the cash invested in Ayo.

Iqbal Survé’s main assets which he is known for is Independent newspapers. He bought the company with a loan from the PIC in 2013.

Dewald van Rensburg, Investigative Journalist at amaBhungane

The problem is he can't pay that debt, he has already defaulted on it.

Dewald van Rensburg, Investigative Journalist at amaBhungane

He's sitting with R600 million that he owes PIC. For the last two years, he has tried very hard to get the PIC to give him more money with which to pay the PIC back. It amounts to getting your debt erased.

Dewald van Rensburg, Investigative Journalist at amaBhungane

Since the PIC gave Ayo Technology Solutions R4 billion, we've seen Ayo conduct transactions that benefit other Survé companies.

Dewald van Rensburg, Investigative Journalist at amaBhungane

Ayo Technology Solutions has also spent some of that PIC money to start supporting Independent.

Dewald van Rensburg, Investigative Journalist at amaBhungane

It's been a rumour for some time. We now have natural payroll documents that show that Independent staff are sitting on Ayo's payroll.

Dewald van Rensburg, Investigative Journalist at amaBhungane

Ayo and Independent are completely separate entities. There's no defensible reason why they should be involved with each other's businesses really.

Dewald van Rensburg, Investigative Journalist at amaBhungane

Listen to the full reportage on Today with Kieno Kammies:


20 February 2020 12:26 PM
Tags:
PIC
Independent media group
Iqbal Survé
amaBhungane
Ayo Technologies
investigative journalist
PIC funding
Dewald van Rensburg

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