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AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

Transnet corruption: Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh, Eric Wood, Kuben Moodley, Siyabonga Gama and 13 co-accused in court

Transnet corruption: Brian Molefe, Anoj Singh, Eric Wood, Kuben Moodley, Siyabonga Gama and 13 co-accused in court
From left: Regiments Capital Directors Niven Pillay, Litha Nyhonhya, former Group Chief Executive of Transnet Brian Molefe and former Group Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh appear at the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 29 August 2022. (Photo: Gallo Images / Daily Maverick / Felix Dlangamandla)

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.

Locomotive procurement

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

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    In what crazy world is someone on trial permitted to leave the country? Given the magnitude of state capture – why would the court even entertain the request? Forgive me, your Lordships, but is this court captured – is the next question. Pierre, please come to our rescue and help us understand why a judge would do this…

    • Jane Crankshaw says:

      I agree with you on this…it’s outrageous, when you consider that Corporate plunderers like Gary Porritt, (and I don’t mean to cast him as innocent) have been jailed for years without yet being found guilty of the crime!

  • Alley Cat says:

    I am an avid reader of DM, but normally with much trepidation as I get angry and depressed about the state of our country which your truthful reporting normally highlights.
    But today I am smiling at the photograph of the accused. A shame that Brian Molefe is not crying in the photo, but I shall celebrate this evening with a larger than normal G&T. Happy that the wheels of justice have eventually started turning!!! Kry vir julle!

  • Peter Watts says:

    Here’s my first rant:
    It is long past the time when a spade should be called a spade, so for Eskom read ANC; for Transnet read ANC; for SAA read ANC, SABC read ANC, for Denel read ANC, for SAPS read ANC; and then look around for every other cock-up in RSA and somewhere you find, guess what? The ANC. It has a proven record of selective non-delivery. It delivers only to those at the top of its hierarchy, but to no one else. For example, the general population gets bad medical care, no or little safety and security, load-shedding, polluted water in many cases, and a monthly bribe, whilst the parasites in the cabinet and other top posts (like the Joburg Roads Agency boss Tshepo Mahanuke) get medical treatment in Russia and other “friendly countries”, police and other security protection and “blue light brigades”, no load-shedding, clean water, huge salaries and other benefits for breaking our economy and everything else in the country and despite this worse than pitiful performance, swollen heads. They still support the colonialist football game and style of dress, and now rub shoulders with the English King, Cyril with his hand out for “reparations”. Oh, the “HAND-OUT” syndrome ….!

  • Peter Watts says:

    This is my second rant:
    Cyril’s ask/demand for reparations for damage caused by colonial raiding might appear legitimate. HOWEVER, based on this country’s record of theft, fraud, corruption and ANC’s misplaced attitude of sovereign immunity, the reparations would probably alight in the feeding trough of those with political influence and be consumed to pay for, inter alia, colonialist premium whisky, colonialist French champagne, false eyelashes, colonialist designer apparel such as Armani suits, flashy cars, overseas junkets, not only to our friends, Russia and China, but also to colonialist countries for unconscionable liberal spending sprees.
    Someone should suggest to Lord Peter Hain, a loyal friend of RSA, that all reparations paid should be directed as far as possible away from the RSA Government, the ANC and any NGO with a self-serving directorate. Maybe Gift of the Givers and Médecins Sans Frontières would be good places to start so that the reparations make meaningful contributions without having large chunks carved out of them by the parasites who hide in government too many South African NGOs. The same goes for climate change finance. The providers should not make empty political gestures by providing finance to government/ANC etc in South Africa, if they want to see it spent properly on what they are ostensibly providing it for, because we all know what happens: remember Covid PPE, to mention but one example of many. South Africa has become a fraud capital.

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