Liseko investment says it has no links to Aspen, threatens legal action

The company says it exited its link to Aspen in 2015

Investment company Liseko is threatening to take legal action against the EFF's Fana Mokoena for what it said were defamatory comments he posted on Twitter on Friday.
Investment company Liseko is threatening to take legal action against the EFF's Fana Mokoena for what it said were defamatory comments he posted on Twitter on Friday.
Image: LUCKY MORAJANE

An investment company owned by medical doctors, Liseko Investments, has threatened to take legal action against the EFF’s Fana Mokoena for comments he made about the company on Twitter.

In a tweet shared on Friday, Mokoena shared names accompanied by pictures of SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) chair Prof Helen Rees and her husband, Dr Fazel Randera, who he said was a shareholder at Liseko investments. Mokoena also stated Liseko is a partner at Aspen Pharmacare which produces the J&J vaccine.

His comments were made on the same day hundreds of his party's supporters and party leader Julius Malema gathered outside the offices of Sahpra for their “march to save lives” and demand approval of the Chinese and Russian Covid-19 vaccines for use in SA.

In a statement, Liseko Investments said the comments were defamatory and malicious.

“We take deep exception to the scurrilous libel directed at Liseko and its directors and will pursue such legal remedies as we deem appropriate,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it holds no direct or indirect interest in the business, operations or strategy of Aspen Pharmacare and “averments to the contrary are false and libellous”. 

“Liseko Investments is a small 17-year-old passive investment holding company owned by a group of medical doctors, including Dr Aslam Dasoo and Dr Fazel Randera,” reads the statement.

The company explained that in 2005, it purchased a minority equity interest in a consortium that, in turn, held a small equity stake in Aspen Pharmacare. In 2015, the company exited the investment and the shares were unbundled to its shareholders, after which Liseko held no further direct or indirect interest in Aspen Pharmacare.

“At no time during the period of the investment was Liseko’s beneficial interest in Aspen material. Liseko was not involved in either the board or operations of the consortium or of Aspen Pharmacare.

“We furthermore confirm that Dr Randera disposed of his resultant beneficial interest in Aspen following the unbundling in 2015 and prior to the appointment of Prof Rees as chairman of Sahpra. Dr Dasoo similarly disposed of his shares prior to the advent of the pandemic. Liseko’s only investment currently is in a small medical IT company,” reads the statement.

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