LDS concerned over Pension Fund shares purchase in Cable & Wireless | 23 November 2019
- Calls for full inquiry
Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS), is alarmed at the possible ramifications of the transaction by the Seychelles Pension Fund (SPF) over the purchase of shares in Cable and Wireless Seychelles and has called for immediate action on several fronts to avert what may be an attempt to exploit the resources of the Fund for the benefit of some individuals.
In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, the SPF board chairman, Jacquelin Dugasse, disclosed that the SPF has purchased a block of 20% of the shares in the new company for a price of US $24 million.
The deal was made with ACM, the group led by Francis Chang-Leng who arranged the acquisition from Liberty Global. Mr Dugasse admitted that the SPF has paid a higher price for the shares than what the company paid for them.
According to an LDS MNA who attended the press conference, the price paid by the SPF may have been 50% higher than the initial cost of the shares, netting the intermediaries a profit of over R100 million on the shares bought by SPF only a few days after the initial acquisition. This suggestion was put to Mr Dugasse and he did not deny it.
“LDS finds this feature of the transaction totally unacceptable. Not only did the SPF miss the opportunity to make the investment in a timely manner at a better price if it wished to do so, but it may have been served as simply a vehicle to enrich other persons,” says a communiqué from LDS.
According to the LDS communiqué, the LDS MNAs have been shocked by the lack of due diligence in the transaction. By the admission of Mr Dugasse, no external due diligence process was attempted. Discussions for the purchase were kept to the last minute, because, according to him, the confidentiality of the members of the Pension Fund Board could not be guaranteed.
The press conference called hastily on Thursday afternoon was selective in the media outlets invited. It has been confirmed that some newpapers were not invited.
In view of the gravity of the implications, LDS urges the following actions.
- It calls on the Ministry of Finance to take immediate action to halt the transaction, if it has not been completed, and to initiate immediate investigations on the issues raised above.
- It calls on President Danny Faure to establish an independent inquiry to be led by a Judge of the Supreme Court.
- The board of the Pension Fund needs to hold a live televised press conference immediately to explain its decisions and answer the concerns which have been raised.
- If the board cannot give an adequate and acceptable defence of its actions, it should resign immediately.
“LDS will continue to pursue the matter in whatever manner it can and will seek to ensure that the appropriate courses of action are taken to safeguard the resources of the SPF in which the Seychellois people are all stakeholders,” concludes the LDS communiqué.