For Homix, a Gupta-linked shelf company, it took its representative only a day to negotiate an information technology and communication (ITC) contract with Transnet and earn a whopping R36 million in consultancy fees, the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture heard yesterday.
In his testimony before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, a former Transnet manager Gerhard van der Westhuizen, whose role in 2013 was to oversee the procurement management of ITC contracts, said he found it strange that Homix, a company owned by Gupta business associate Salim Essa, which neither had interaction with him or any member of his unit within Transnet, was paid R36 million for securing the deal for Neotel.
According to Van der Westhuizen, Neotel sent Homix an acceptance letter dated February 22, 2014 after the transaction had already been concluded and committed to by Transnet.
“It is possible that Neotel inflated the price it charged Transnet to cover costs for Homix. “It is also strange that Neotel was invoiced R36 million for one day’s work,” said Van der Westhuizen under cross examination.
Homix, said Van der Westhuizen, signed a contract with Neotel on December 12, 2014 and the final master sale agreement (MSA) was handed to Transnet’s former chief financial officer, Anoj Singh, the following day. While he acknowledged there was a stalemate during the Transnet-Neotel contract negotiations, Van der Westhuizen said there was “absolutely no need for a third party”.
A Transnet letter of intent to negotiate the MSA for the provision of network services was already issued to Neotel and accepted.
Van der Westhuizen’s previous role, after joining Transnet in 2007, was to oversee audit and compliance on procurement processes. He described it as “career suicide” to disagree with Transnet former group chief executive officer Brian Molefe, whose word was final in any huge transaction.
Hearings into the capture of Transnet continue.