AYO rejects defamatory weekend reports

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CAPE TOWN – AYO Technology Solutions Limited (AYO) rejects with contempt the defamatory and malicious content that was reported on in several articles that appeared in the media over this past weekend. These articles appear to be part of an attempt by competitors to deliberately undermine the Sekunjalo Group and in particular INMSA and  AYO.

AYO notes with concern, that its responses to questions put to it by some of the media have either been deliberately not reported on or quoted out of context and as such, convey an impression that AYO has participated in something corrupt or fraudulent. AYO categorically denies that it has done anything of the sort.

AYO has also refrained from entering into correspondence with some of the media, as it recognizes that its responses would probably be taken out of context as has been done on several occasions this year.

For the record:

  • AYO is a company that has been in existence for more than two decades
  • It is a diversified technology and telecommunications company that has significant investments in various sectors
  • It is highly profitable, and AYO has no debt.

AYO has been the victim of repeated slander from a number of individuals and media houses over the past 12-months or so, some of whom have even tried to extort the company for their own financial gain.

AYO was listed on the JSE on 21 December 2017. AYO’s listing was oversubscribed by more than R1bn – the company was able to raise R5,3bn from institutions and high net worth individuals.  The fact that the Group was able to raise this, outside of the PIC’s investment, has been deliberately and repeatedly ignored by the media.

AYO chose to have the PIC investment so that it could maintain its BEE shareholding, which was important for its licenses and in particular, the ICASA licenses in the telecommunications sector.

AYO’s business plan was presented to a number of institutions. This plan included organic growth across the ICT sector, as well as servicing multi-nationals that would require the appropriate service providers to meet their BEE requirements. The opportunity for AYO rested with the requirement for a black ICT Group that was well resourced and capacitated to be able to acquire other companies that needed BEE shareholding to service this requirement from a number of clients.

Since listing, AYO has concluded a number of transactions, including the Vunani Fintech Fund, Sizwe Africa IT and others. It continues to conduct business and attract partners and clients who can see the true value of what the Group actually offers.

AYO will not, (despite attempts to influence it otherwise), enter into transactions that are reckless, do not fit its portfolio or meet its requirements. AYO will always take its time to ensure that it thoroughly interrogates its deal pipeline and will only invest in those companies, which will enhance its earnings to the benefit of all its shareholders, including the PIC. In this regard, it should be specifically noted that whilst AYO has an extensive deal pipeline, it will not do deals at any cost. This is not a responsible way to do things.

AYO practices the highest levels of corporate governance. All transactions are required to go through a thorough process of due diligence, including assessing the value-creating requirements that AYO has set for itself.

Over and above commercial requirements, AYO is committed to transformation in the ICT sector. In this respect, AYO supports a number of black-owned enterprises as part of its organic and acquisitive growth strategy.

AYO is completely shocked and dismayed by the unlawful possession of its confidential board documents, which are now in the public domain.

Specifically, AYO refers to a letter signed by two (now former) executives, that has been released to the media, notwithstanding the fact that matters arising from this document have long been comprehensively dealt with by AYO and its independent board of directors.

AYO finds its unacceptable that individuals seek to use such material to extort exorbitant settlements from it. AYO and its shareholders, including the PIC, are in agreement that it will not give in, to any attempts of coercion that cause it to go against its own strict and ethical principles and, the law of the land.

The matter of the ‘loan’. Having indicated that there exists no loan between itself and 3 Laws Capital, the media continues to peddle lies in this respect. To clarify, yet again, AYO as part of a board resolution has placed some of its capital that it has raised (as part of its treasury function to achieve high yields), with a number of reputable banking institutions. It is wholly improper and downright outrageous that a decision of the AYO board is questioned by external parties that have nothing to do with the business of AYO.  AYO is very confident in its position and more than welcomes any investigation into its investment practices.

AYO will proceed to defend its reputation and the rights of the company and its shareholders. AYO reserves all of its rights to take the necessary legal action against those who continue to defame the company, its executives and who undermine the company’s business.

AYO also intends to pursue criminal charges for extortion against certain individuals who created documents and used these documents to try to extort the company for settlements. AYO is confident that the law will take its full course.

AYO is a JSE listed company, but notes with concern that it is suffering harm to its reputation and its shareholder value as a result of the ongoing deliberate attempts to paint a falsely negative picture of its trading and operational ability and its financial practices. Manipulation by certain quarters to influence the court of public opinion is highly unethical.

For the record, AYO’s board is an independent board with significant representation of impartial shareholders, including those nominated by the PIC. Any suggestion that AYO is under the influence of any specific shareholder is malicious, defamatory and without any basis whatsoever.

AYO has s new board, a new executive, a sound set of corporate governance principles. It adheres to all legal requirements of listed companies and is resolute in its determination to rise above the current public attacks on its integrity, to deliver on its mandate to transform the South African ICT sector, for the betterment of all.

Issued by
Dr Wallace Mgoqi
Chairman of the Board of AYO Technology Solutions