Cape Times E-dition

PIC witness quizzed about disciplinary findings of dishonesty


THE guilty finding in disciplinary proceedings of Victor Seanie, the first witness in the Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC) court case against ICT investment group, AYO Technology Solutions (AYO), came back to haunt him when he faced a grilling at the Western Cape High Court yesterday.

Seanie, who is the PIC’s witness, was being cross-examined by Ayo Senior counsel Nazeer Cassim in the case where the PIC is looking to dissolve and recoup its R4.3 billion subscription agreement in AYO.

The hearing included accusations of dishonesty, a lack of integrity and breaching of his employment contract.

When Seanie said he had not accepted the disciplinary’s findings, Cassim asked him whether he had taken them to the CCMA on review.

Seanie said he had, but then had not pursued it.

Cassim: So, then you abandoned it?

Seanie: Yes.

Cassim: So, then you accepted the findings that you were dishonest? Seanie: I did not accept it. Cassim: But it (the findings) are there for all to see.

Later in the cross-examination, Seanie admitted that he had never read AYO’s final PLS (pre-listing statement) document.

He, had only read the draft PLS, he said. Seanie also admitted that he had not taken the AYO deal seriously and only did a quick desktop due diligence exercise after he realised his bosses were taking it seriously.

He had said that in his view, the whole process was rushed, and he had been sure that after the PIC carried out due diligence on the deal it would not go ahead.

Cassim and Seanie locked horns over the issue of AYO’s partnership with British Telecom SA (BTSA), with Seanie insisting that it was only a partial deal and Cassim saying the fact was that there was a deal.

Seanie grudgingly conceded this point.

However, the relevance of evidence from former PIC staffer Seanie was questioned, with Cassim raising several objections while Seanie was being led in his testimony by PIC counsel Phumlani Ngcongo on the matter of emails and discussions relating to the preliminary evaluation of AYO, ahead of its approach to the PIC with its PLS.

Ngcongo had also questioned Seanie about whether he knew anything about the Sekunjalo Group of Companies’ (Sekunjalo) chairman Dr Iqbal Survé’s involvement in it as far back as July when the issue was still being discussed internally at AYO.

In response to the string of questions he was asked by Ngcongo, Seanie said that he was not aware of the discussions and had not seen the emails.

Objecting to the line of questioning, Cassim wanted to know what value the witness was adding when he had already admitted he was unaware of the discussions and emails.

Judge Ashley Binns-Ward, who is hearing the matter, sustained this objection as well as others Cassim had raised, also wanting to know what the point of the questions were.

When Ngcongo tried to explain the reasoning behind his line of questioning, Judge Binns-Ward said he understood that he was trying to create a narrative, but that the issue could be dealt with in another way.

The case continues today.





African News Agency