Sagarmatha & Survé: yet more questions

Posted on April 20, 2018

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One of the losers in the failed flotation on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) of Sagarmatha Technologies is 3 Laws Capital, the investment management company that was set to pick up more than R52 million in placement fees had the listing gone ahead. 3 Laws is controlled by Iqbal Survé, the major figure behind Sagarmatha, and the company features a curriculum vitae about the controversial media magnate which raises several questions.

In the director’s profiles of 3 Laws, Survé no longer makes some of the more extravagant claims he has made in the recent past, among them having been Nelson Mandela’s doctor, the “mind coach” to the Bafana Bafana soccer team and to the Indian cricket team under Sachin Tendulkar. But this “influential African entrepreneur, a Global business leader and a recognized philanthropist” still makes claims that have been shown to be unsubstantiated.

Prime among these is a relationship with Britain’s Prince Charles. Although 3 Laws Capital does not mention — as earlier claims did — a personal relationship with the British royal, it notes that Survé is “a Fellow of the HRH the Prince of Wales Business & Environment Programme”. According to the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), no such fellowship exists.

Previously, in several interviews and published articles, Survé claimed to be a “Fellow of the Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Programme”, an honour that does exist. Questioned about this, he expanded on the claim. writing that he was, in fact, “an inaugural Fellow”. But there is no such fellowship category and the CISL confirmed that it had written to Survé asking him to desist from making such claims.

This week the CISL confirmed that there were still only two South Africans awarded fellowships of the Business and Sutainability Programme. They are Professor Bob Scholes of Witwatersrand University and Professor Richard Calland of the University of Cape Town. Survé, like some 500 other South Africans, is “an alumnus” — a former CISL student.

The 3 Laws company profile also stresses Survé’s “strong commitment to education and academia”, stating that he is “Chairman of the UCT (University of Cape Town) Graduate School of Business and a Governor of the UCT Foundation”. But, according to the university, Survé was not the chairman of the business school and has held no positions there for more than three years.

Until he resigned in December 2014, after being asked to step down from positions held at the business school, he was the “chairperson of the advisory board of the Graduate School of Business” and served on the university’s foundation.

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