Zondo wants answers on why Hawks did nothing about Transnet capture

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond 'Ray' Zondo greets the commission before hearing testimony from Trevor Manuel and Siphiwe Nyanda, 28 February 2019. Picture: Karen Sandison / African News Agency (ANA)

The state capture commission chair wants to know why no action was taken despite alleged evidence that the Guptas were milking the rail company.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Friday instructed the Commission into State Capture’s legal team to liaise with the Special Crimes Investigative Unit head on the status of investigations into Transnet.

He was baffled by the inaction exemplified by the Hawks’ failure to take up the matter of the state-owned enterprise (SOE), which irregularly paid millions in taxpayers’ money to Gupta-linked BEX – a company it had no lawful contract with.

Zondo’s order followed testimony by businessman Roberto Gonsalves – one of the minority shareholders of a company that handsomely benefited from Transnet’s relocation of its locomotive manufacturing plant from its Koedoespoort plant in Tshwane to Durban.

Gonsalves told Zondo that, from R9.7 million the originally budgeted amount spiralled to R647 million, which was paid upfront to his consortium, with BEX gaining more than R67 million.

According to Gonsalves, despite Transnet being informed of the unlawfulness of the deal and “unreasonable amounts paid”, the SOE “continued to pay” – a matter he said was brought to the attention of the Hawks in 2017 without any response.

“Transnet has to claim back R67 million plus VAT (value added tax) from my company. Nothing of significance came out of the involvement of the Hawks,” said Gonsalves.

When Transnet requested a costs analysis, said Gonsalves, there was nothing to relocate in what was expected to be the movement of 232 locomotives.

Transnet, under Brian Molefe as its group CEO, saw the spiralling of the costs of relocation to R719 million.

Gonsalves said that by the time the contract agreement was signed with Transnet, his team knew the locomotives were to be delivered to Durban and not Koedoespoort, as stated in the contract.

Monday will see chief information officer of Transnet Port Terminal Sharla Chetty continuing her testimony on how Molefe meddled in contracts without taking into account risk evaluation and showing disregard for the company’s procurement procedure manual.

– brians@citizen.co.za

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