Picture: GIBELA
Picture: GIBELA

The High Court in Pretoria has rescinded an order it had previously made for former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) chief financial officer Fenton Gastin to repay R8.2m.

The default order issued in late July declared that two contracts entered into between Gastin and Prasa "in a deliberate attempt to defraud" Prasa were invalid and that he had to refund his former employer.

The first contract was his hiring as chief financial officer and the second was a day-to-day contract given to him by former CEO Lucky Montana after he had been fired.

The order was granted by default when Gastin’s opposing papers did not find their way to court.

Gastin’s attorney‚ Victor Nkhwashu‚ at the time said that he had sent notice that his client intended to oppose Prasa’s application.

Prasa did not oppose Gastin’s application for the order to be rescinded.

"Prasa consented to the rescission of this judgment that was obtained by it by default‚" Prasa spokeswoman Nana Zenani said on Wednesday.

"The rescission of this default judgment was therefore expected. Mr Gastin has filed an answering affidavit and Prasa is preparing its replying affidavit. The matter will therefore be fully ventilated in court.

"Had Prasa not been confident of its prospects of success‚ it would not have launched this application. We look forward to the matter being finally determined by the court‚" Zenani added.

Nkhwashu, meanwhile, did not respond for requests to comment on the latest developments.

The Times previously reported that Gastin was promoted to Prasa group chief financial officer in April 2012 after serving as its group chief risk officer for two years.

Gastin would be paid a total of six months’ salary as a severance package‚ despite having signed a five-year fixed-term contract with Prasa.

Less than two years into his tenure as group chief financial officer, Gastin was axed.

Prasa’s human resources head at the time‚ Leba Mashao‚ told Gastin by letter that the decision to terminate his contract at the end of September 2013 was due to the company’s operational requirements and that trust between Gastin and Prasa had "irrevocably broken down".

But Gastin was paid R3.3m‚ more than his annual salary‚ for the remaining 12 months of his contract.

This was a "deliberate over-payment"‚ Prasa charged.

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