Businessman Kholofelo Maponya’s demand for R45 million in fees for a deal he was already fully funded for led to SA Home Loans (SAHL) CEO Kevin Penwarden requesting to take early retirement.
In a 2016 letter written by Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala to the then boss of the Government Employees’ Pension Fund (GEPF) administrator, Dan Matjila, Penwarden tendered his request to go on early retirement because of Maponya’s “interference and breakdown of a business relationship” between the two.
This week the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) inquiry heard how Maponya demanded that SAHL pay him R45 million in fees for a deal that was already fully funded by the PIC. Maponya is expected to take the stand next week to defend the claims.
Read: How PIC ‘robbed’ Paul for Peter
In Tshabalala’s letter to Matjila, the banker listed Penwarden’s reasons for requesting early retirement:
. He expected future interference in the business operations of SAHL by director Maponya;
. His business relationship with Maponya had broken down; and
. That Maponya had spoken badly of him (Penwarden) to staff at SAHL.
The letter said Penwarden opposed Maponya’s demands that his company, Matome Maponya Investments (MMI), be paid fees exceeding R45 million by SAHL even though the board had not agreed to the payment. This was followed by an instruction from Maponya that the fees due to be paid to the GEPF be paid to MMI instead.
Tshabalala pointed out that the SAHL board was able to resolve the matter but Penwarden still raised them as reasons he wanted early retirement.
In the letter Tshabalala asked Matjila to support the SAHL to help retain Penwarden as CEO and “restore the stability” of SAHL. He proposed that both the bank and the PIC resolve to support Penwarden to “persuade him to retract his request for early retirement”.
Tshabalala told Matjila that the two directors appointed by the PIC to the SAHL board “seemingly haven’t considered the negative consequences … that a departure of KP [Penwarden] at this uncertain time could entail …
“By making no attempt to persuade KP to stay on they don’t seem to appreciate the liquidity and solvency risk that management turmoil and/or inappropriate interference by a minority shareholder [Maponya] with management could trigger.”
Penwarden later rescinded his retirement letter and is still working at SAHL as CEO.
This week Penwarden declined to comment. He also did not give reasons for his decision not to take early retirement. He said SAHL had held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the issue.
“The directors concerned presented their statements. The board then put a process in place to take the matter further. Until such process is complete I am unable to answer any questions relating to this matter,” Penwarden said.
Maponya’s MMI BHC Consortium was fully funded by PIC to buy a 25% stake in SAHL. The PIC also bought its own 25% stake. The shares were bought from JP Morgan. The other 50% is held by Standard Bank.
After revelations from the PIC inquiry this week, Maponya issued a statement declaring that he was looking forward to testifying at the commission next week and vowed to rebut testimonies that implicated him by spilling some beans.
Speaking to City Press, Maponya maintained that he was entitled to the controversial fee and it was only after pleading numerous times to be paid that he resorted to going to court.
Read: Kholofelo Maponya sees red over PIC inquiry allegations
Maponya further claimed he had done all his deals with the PIC while Matjila was still the chief investment officer and it was only when he became chief executive that things soured and there were complications with the deals as Matjila was allegedly under pressure to dish out political favours.
“I know unionists and others were very upset about the SA Home loans deal, they wanted in. Nehawu [the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union] and others said who is this guy? This is our money. He started being put under pressure from various interested parties,” Maponya said, adding that it was at that point that he was thrown under the bus by Matjila.
“He [Matjila] had to choose between his job and me and he chose his job. That is why every politician we wrote to never responded,” he said.
Maponya said he was now selling his shares in SAHL because he was struggling to stay afloat.
“I am now forced to sell my shares in SA Home Loans because I have no cash flow; I can’t even loan against them. The banks connive against me,” he said, adding that a fortnight ago Standard Bank wrote another letter to the PIC requesting that he be removed from the SAHL board.
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