UIF hopes to recover R1.8bn lost to failed investments in Bounty Brands

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UIF hopes to recover R1.8bn lost to failed investments in Bounty Brands

Earlier this year, investigative outfit Scorpio exposed how in late 2018, just months after the second investment was made, the consumer goods group found itself in a debt crisis prompting a drastic restructure which saved it from financial ruin but left the UIF’s shares worthless.

FILE: A UIF mobile unit. Picture: Unemployment Insurance Fund/Facebook
  • Unemployment Insurance Fund
  • Scorpio
  • Bounty Brands

JOHANNESBURG – The Unemployment Insurance Fund said that it was hopeful that it could still recover the almost R1.8 billion in public money that it lost on two failed investments in Bounty Brands.

Earlier this year, investigative outfit Scorpio exposed how in late 2018, just months after the second investment was made, the consumer goods group found itself in a debt crisis prompting a drastic restructure which saved it from financial ruin but left the UIF’s shares worthless.

READ: DM Scorpio: How a foreign company appropriated R500m of your UIF money

Now Scorpio has tracked some R530 million of the UIF’s money back to its UK holding company – Bounty Brands Holdings – and unearthed how it was apparently paid out to shareholders as dividends.

The UIF told Eyewitness News that it deplored the alleged malfeasance.

In response to questions from Eyewitness News, UIF spokesperson Makhosonke Buthelezi has emphasised that the fund had granted the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) a mandate to make investments on its behalf and that the PIC ran its own investment processes which the UIF had been assured included “thorough due diligence of all envisaged transactions”.

Buthelezi said, though, that the PIC regularly reports back to the fund on the performance of these investments and as a result, the fund had recently been made aware of the investments in Bounty Brands.

He said the fund “deplores the alleged malfeasance in Bounty Brands”.

But he also said its understanding is that the PIC has instituted an investigation which they believe will result in recovering the funds.

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