Anonymous whistle-blower ‘James Nogu’ looms large at PIC inquiry
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A forensic investigator, hired by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to probe the source of confidential leaks at the asset manager, did not uncover the identity of a whistle-blower behind the name “James Nogu”.
Nogu is the anonymous source of emails which contained allegations that former chief executive Dan Matjila facilitated the funding of a business owned by a woman who was said to be his girlfriend.
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Frans Lekubo, Director of Naledi Advisory Services, told the commission of inquiry probing allegations of impropriety at the PIC that the forensic probe uncovered a case of corruption against Matjila that opened in October 2017. Lekubo said the corruption case had been opened without the directive of the corporation on the strength of the unknown whistleblower’s emails.
“During the course of our investigation, we came across information that there was a criminal case against the then-CEO Dan Matjila,” said Lekubo. He said the board then broadened the scope of the investigation to look into the case.
Lekubo revealed that Nogu was using an account from Webmail, which is a South African service provider, and a subpoena would be needed to obtain details of this account.
It is not known whether the PIC took further steps to obtain a subpoena to uncover the identity of the whistleblower.
Lekubo further testified that Simphiwe Mayisela had, as early as October 2017, intercepted Matjila’s emails and gained access to confidential documents which he saved on his computer, including documents about investment deals.
Mayisela was dismissed from the PIC in June 2018 following a hearing, and one of the charges he faced was that he had failed to inform Matjila that the police were investigating him for corruption.
Asked by the Commissioner if he considered Nogu to be be a whistleblower, Mayisela said: “In my view, James Nogu was not a whistleblower”.
The inquiry, which began its work last week, has heard evidence around the R4.3bn investment in AYO Technology Solutions, in a deal which – according to witnesses – did not follow due process. More evidence is expected on the funding of the entity controlled by businessman Iqbal Surve.