A property developer who has been accused of attempting to shake down a Public Investment Corporation (PIC) client for a transaction origination fee that he was apparently entitled to has decried not being afforded the opportunity to tell his side of the story before the PIC commission of inquiry.
The inquiry formally concluded its public hearings on Wednesday.
Kholofelo Maponya is the head of Matome Maponya Investments (MMI) and the representative of Bolatja Hlogo Consortium, the empowerment consortium the PIC funded to purchase a 25% stake in mortgage company SA Home Loans. The PIC also holds a 25% stake in SA Home Loans, with the rest held by Standard Bank.
Issues between Maponya, the PIC and the management of SA Home Loans emerged after a R10.5 billion loan facility was awarded to the mortgage company to provide affordable home loans to Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) members.
Of that amount, R1.5 billion went towards a housing development fund administered by SA Home Loans, which Maponya received a 0.5% advisory fee for. But contrary to testimony given by at least four people before the commission, including SA Home Loans CEO Kevin Penwarden and former PIC CEO Dan Matjila, Maponya insists that he is entitled to a transaction origination fee of R45 million or 0.5% of the remaining R9 billion of the facility because that was the original arrangement.
The story goes that after years of trying to get payment, Maponya, together with the PIC’s Wellington Masekesa – both of whom are non-executive directors of SA Home Loans – attempted to strong-arm SA Home Loans into paying him the R45 million.
The discussion took place at a restaurant in Sandton where the pair allegedly told Zakheni Dlamini, director of business development at SA Home Loans, that the company had to find a way of “regularising” the fee. They suggested it be included in a new R10 billion facility that SA Home Loans had applied for (for the same purpose of providing loans to GEPF members).
Maponya would also be entitled to a further R50 million, or 0.5% of the new facility. According to Dlamini, Maponya said that if this was not done the PIC would not approve the new loan, and that Matjila had supported this proposition. Matjila has since denied this. The matter was reported to the Hawks.
The other side
“Perception is key,” Maponya told Moneyweb, speaking as to why he is adamant about having his day on the stand at the PIC inquiry.
“People were given latitude and a very long time with a lot of newspaper headlines and articles that paint me in a very skewed way based on the only information available,” said Maponya.
According to his attorney Bophelo Malapela, despite personally delivering Maponya’s affidavit to one of the commission’s employees in July his client was never called to appear before the commission.
Maponya has publicly said that he is prepared to respond to the allegations against him under oath, and apparently provided the commission with his travelling schedule to clarify when he would be available, but Malapela said the commission never acknowledged any of this communication.
It came as a shock to the team when on Tuesday evidence leader advocate Jannie Lubbe announced that Maponya’s affidavit would be one of many that would be published on the commission’s website without the party making an appearance.
“We are disappointed that we have been denied the opportunity to clear Mr Maponya’s name,” said Malapela.
On officially concluding the inquiry’s public hearings on Wednesday, Judge Lex Mpati said that “if deemed appropriate and necessary, further limited public hearings may be held”.
Possible appearance in September
Responding to questions sent by Moneyweb, Lubbe said that he had personally spoken to Maponya on Wednesday, during which he informed him that his request to appear before the commission would be submitted to the commissioner, adding that he would “assist him as far as I can to appear before the commission in September”.
“He is not the only person who has submitted a statement with a request to appear before the commission,” said Lubbe. “Because of the programme of the commission and time constraints, the commission could not accommodate all the requests including requests to cross-examine witnesses.”
Lubbe confirmed that Wellington Masekesa, who is assistant to the CEO at the PIC, had also submitted an affidavit and would be treated in the same manner as Maponya.
Both men’s affidavits will not be published on the website “without their consent”.
‘Tacit’ verbal agreement
Maponya denied claims that he had tried to extort money from SA Home Loans, saying the “continuity” of the 0.5% origination fee had been discussed with Penwarden on various occasions “over dinner, WhatsApp messages and in board corridors”.
“Why did it become a crime when I speak to a young guy [Dlamini] without authority and just remind him that this is my stake of this,” said Maponya.
Maponya claims that he had a “tacit” verbal agreement with Matjila and Penwarden that he would receive a 0.5% transaction fee on the GEPF member’s mortgage loan product, which would only be formalised on paper after the loan facility was approved.
Maponya said he had flown to Durban with his daughter to meet with Penwarden at his office, and that they had agreed on this.
“I took out the phone and said let’s confirm with Dr Matjila, and he said ‘There is no need to, you are both honourable men’,” said Maponya.
When he testified before Mpati in May Penwarden confirmed the meeting, but said he was merely informed that Maponya and Matjila had agreed that he was entitled to the origination fee. He said he thought Maponya was informing him of a material aspect of the transaction, and not that SA Home Loans would be responsible for the payment.
Maponya said he was entitled to the money because he was involved in structuring the product, and that he has provided the commission with his communications with SA Home Loans as well as initial committee approvals, which he says prove this.
The understanding was that when SA Home Loans was awarded additional credit to provide mortgage loans under the product he would be entitled to 0.5% of that amount – this is where the additional R50 million from comes in.
Initial attempts to pay the money included the PIC issuing a cession letter by Matjila on the R45 million, but this was blocked by Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala who said it was irregular. Matjila said he only signed the letter because he was under the impression that SA Home Loans had a contract with Maponya.
Maponya has a court case pending at the Pretoria High Court where he is fighting for the fee.
In his testimony Matjila described Maponya as having “little respect for governance”, saying that in all the deals the PIC had conducted with Maponya, such as the one involving Daybreak Farms, the PIC had to intervene to save its investment and, in the case of Daybreak, stabilise the farm.