October 25, 2018 / 10:25 AM / a month ago

South African state pension fund CEO denies corruption allegations

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The chief executive of South Africa’s state pension fund denied corruption allegations on Thursday, as a judicial inquiry into governance at the 2 trillion rand ($137 billion) fund prepares to get under way.

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is Africa’s biggest pension fund and the biggest investor in South Africa’s economy, holding a large volume of bonds issued by government and state-owned firms and equity stakes in some blue-chip companies.

President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered an inquiry into the fund after opposition parties accused its chief executive, Dan Matjila, of misuse of funds and careless investment decisions.

The inquiry is meant to issue a final report by April next year.

In an open letter to South Africans published on Thursday, Matjila said he wanted to respond to “unsubstantiated, malicious and spurious allegations” against him.

“I wish to categorically state, that I have never been partisan nor leaned towards any faction of a political party where it concerns my work,” Matjila said.

He added that he hoped the inquiry would restore public confidence in the PIC.

In 2017, Matjila was cleared of wrongdoing by an internal audit committee that looked into misconduct allegations.

But the collapse of local bank VBS early this year, where the fund had a stake, raised new questions about its handling of public money.

($1 = 14.5513 rand)

Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by James Macharia

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