New probe implicates Brian Molefe and Gupta allies in Transnet deal
The findings against former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe and Gupta allies by Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi (MNS) attorneys mirror conclusions by Werksmans Attorneys’ probe that stated they might have breached procurement regulations.
DA spokeswoman on public enterprises Natasha Mazzone said the reports from the two law firms had reached the same conclusion on the magnitude of the criminal enterprise that Molefe and the Gupta associates presided over for the benefit of Gupta-linked firms. She said the reports "provide enough evidence for a criminal investigation to be instituted".
The DA was planning to lay criminal charges at the Cape Town central police station against Molefe and three others allegedly linked to the R15.4bn inflation in the price of the parastatal’s R54bn locomotive acquisition contract.
Also being targeted for criminal charges are Transnet’s former chief financial officer Anoj Singh, former chairman of the Transnet board’s acquisitions and disposals committee Iqbal Sharma and close Gupta associate Salim Essa, all of whose actions allegedly facilitated the looting of Transnet by Gupta-linked companies.
The charges follow the recent submission of a draft forensic report by MNS attorneys to the Transnet board that recommended criminal charges be brought against the four individuals. It also recommended that steps be taken by Transnet to recover money lost from Molefe, who should be charged under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
The MNS report comes after a Werksmans Attorneys’ probe found that Molefe, Gupta associates and current Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama might have contravened the PFMA for serious breaches of statutes, regulations and corporate governance, and unlawful conduct in relation to the transaction.
MNS attorneys claimed Molefe, Singh, Sharma and Essa were central to misrepresentations to the board about the increase in the cost of the deal to buy 1,064 locomotives by R15.4bn to R54bn in 2014.
The law firm said this increase "appears inexplicable, unreasonable and excessive" and was approved by Molefe two months before the board was presented with it.