South African opposition seeks access to report on suspended pension chief Oliphant

Democratic Alliance wants to see ‘forensic’ PWC report

South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party is seeking access to a report detailing events leading up to the suspension of John Oliphant from his role as Principal Executive Officer of the R1.2trn (€101bn) Government Employees’ Pension Fund (GEPF).
Oliphant was suspended last month from Africa’s largest pension fund over what were termed “supply chain irregularities” by GEPF Chairman Arthur Moloto.
It led to Oliphant stepping down from his Advisory Council and Nominations Committee roles at the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and his chairmanship of the Code for Responsible Investment in South Africa (CRISA).
He had decided to review his participation on the bodies “until I have cleared my name,” Oliphant said at the time.
Oliphant, who has been replaced on an interim basis by Acting Principal Officer Joelene Moodley, is facing an internal hearing on the matter.
Now David Ross, Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance with the DA, has said he will apply under South Africa’s access to information rules to gain access to a forensic report by consultants PWC into what he said was “alleged corruption” over the award of an advertising tender at the fund.He added the PWC report was believed to contain recommended actions to be taken against a number of individuals, details of how Oliphant “irregularly approved payments” to advertising company MojoMotherRussia and “multiple instances” of contravention of the fund’s supply chain requirements.
Ross cited media reports as saying the cost of the contract jumped from around R500,000 (€36,636) to R20m (c.€1.5m). MojoMotherRussia itself puts the cost of a typical campaign at between R50,000-450,000.
Ross said in a statement that though he welcomed Moloto’s “swift action”, greater transparency was required for the sake of all pensioners: “The DA is committed to finding the real reasons for the suspension, in the best interest of all government employees who belong to the GEPF.”
Oliphant had earlier tweeted that he was calling in lawyers to try to get the report made public. And, prior to the release of the DA request, Oliphant tweeted on November 17: “Never thought that the most difficult thing to resist is the temptation to set the record straight. Now I know!”