Mboweni told PIC board to ‘look within itself’ before it quit – Gungubele
Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele (Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)
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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni implored the board of the Public Investment Commission to look within itself prior to its resignation early this month, Chairperson Mondli Gungubele said on Monday.
Gungubele is the first senior official to give evidence before the Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of the asset manager.
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Nine non-executive members of the PIC board resigned on February 1. Gungubele was also among the directors who quit.
‘What do you think of yourselves?’
Asked by evidence leader Jannie Lubbe if the board was pushed to resign, Gungubele said the finance minister had asked: “What do you think of yourselves under the circumstances?” He said the remark was not a call for resignation.
The board walk-out came as allegations of divisions and corruption arose among members, including Gungubele. Email messages had been circulated by an anonymous whistle-blower known only as ‘James Noko’.
Gungubele labelled Noko’s allegations as “unfounded and laughable”.
He said he convened a special board meeting to discuss the emails, where it was resolved that the allegations must be investigated. He did not give further details of the investigation.
READ: I have done nothing wrong – deputy finance minister insists amid whistle-blower storm
“Although the allegations against me are unfounded and in fact laughable, I invite any members of the public with any evidence of corruption and impropriety against me to urgently bring it to this commission, so that it can be investigated,” he said.
The board remains in place until a new one is appointed. Gungubele stated that he was not aware of any impropriety against any of the board members.
Although the PIC has not managed to unmask Noko’s true identity, Gungubele believes the person is someone close to the institution.
“I strongly believe that it’s somebody who understands the dynamics of the institution. Whenever you look at the emails, those emails are from someone who is close,” he said as he wrapped up his evidence.
Gungubele said the board’s decision to resign was unanimous.
“There was a lot of dust around the board…the names of board members being painted in that manner,” he said, adding that they would be available to give evidence if needed.
“We will be available if so required. By resigning you are not admitting guilt,” said Gungubele.