AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
Transnet corruption: Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh, Eric Wood, Kuben Moodley, Siyabonga Gama and 13 co-accused in court
Thousands of pages have been handed over to the lawyers of former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe and his co-accused in the R398.4m Transnet corruption case. The lawyers will return to court in April 2023 to indicate whether they require any additional information. If not, a pre-trial date will be set.
Former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe and his co-accused appeared briefly in the Palm Ridge Specialised Crimes Court on Wednesday.
The other accused include former group chief financial officer Anoj Singh, former chief financial officer Garry Pita; Eric Wood, the CEO of the defunct Trillian Capital Partners; Phetolo Ramosebudi; alleged “Gupta fixer” Kuben Moodley; Siyabonga Gama; and Regiments Capital directors Nevin Pillay and Litha Nyhonyha.
Former McKinsey director Vikas Sagar stands accused in his personal and representative capacity, while employee Goitseone Mangope is accused as the current representative of the company. With the companies added, the number of those accused of multimillion-rand corruption at the parastatal stands at 18.
They are charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act, fraud, and money laundering in connection with Transnet’s procurement of 1,064 locomotives in 2015.
The charges stem from the locomotives transaction advisory tender which was awarded to the McKinsey-led consortium in 2012, resulting in the procurement of 1,064 locomotives costing more than R54-billion. Regiments Capital was irregularly onboarded and ended up benefiting from the irregular appointment by Transnet in respect of the contract. The contract value and scope for the services required were later escalated to more than R305-million.
This agreement, the State further contends, included the sourcing of the China Development Bank loan and the club loan — to the amount of $2.5-billion (equivalent to R30-billion at the time) — on behalf of Transnet. The accused also face charges linked to the R93.4-million paid to Trillian Asset Management in 2015.
Molefe hands-on ‘for all the wrong reasons’
The State claims that the alleged corruption occurred at the parastatal while Molefe was at the helm of Transnet from 2011 to 2015 and was hands-on, “for all the wrong reasons”.
On Wednesday, National Prosecuting Authority Investigative Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said lawyers for the accused had been furnished with extensive information and now needed to prepare.
Seboka said the dockets are voluminous and the defence lawyers will need a lot of time to go through the contents as well as to file further representations for the clients.
“When the defence lawyers return in April 2023, they must indicate whether they require any additional particulars or if they are ready for the matter to be referred to the high court for a pre-trial conference.
“We said from the outset of the matter that we have a case. Documents will show the value is over R398.4-million,” she said.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Transnet and SIU ask high court to cancel 1,064 locomotive contracts, scene of the Guptas’ greatest heist”
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
In March 2011, Transnet and the Special Investigating Unit asked to cancel the state logistics company’s contracts for the procurement of 1,064 locomotives — the scene of the Guptas’ greatest known looting.
In April, Daily Maverick reported that the State Capture Commission wanted criminal investigations and possible prosecutions of Molefe, Singh and former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko, over deals awarded to McKinsey & Co and its intended local partner, Trillian Capital. Five months later, it has become reality.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “The Zondo Report has clearly fingered the enablers of State Capture — now it’s time for reparations”
Meanwhile, Wood, who was granted bail and allowed to travel to visit his family in Spain and the UK in September, has asked the court to relax his bail conditions and allow him to return there.
Because the State did not object to Wood’s application, the court granted Wood permission to leave the country in mid-December and return to South Africa in the first week of January 2023.
Molefe and his co-accused are back in court in April 2023. DM