Prasa official didn’t back ‘irregular’ contract, so Montana fired him, Zondo hears

Lucky Montana. Picture: Christine Vermooten

The commission heard that former CEO Lucky Montana was at some stage ‘paranoid’ and ‘unsettled’ about investigations into corruption at Prasa.

Former Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana fired on the spot an official working at the agency’s legal department who did not back an “irregular” tender, the state capture inquiry heard on Thursday.

Witness at the commission of inquiry into state capture, Fani Dingiswayo, told the commission’s chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that he had put it on record that he did not want to be party to the signing of an irregular contract with Prodigy, a company owned by businessman Roy Moodley, who is said to be linked to former president Jacob Zuma.

Dingiswayo told the commission that after Montana returned from leave, which he had taken in November 2014, he was allegedly “paranoid” and “unsettled” about probes into alleged corruption at the agency.

During an extended executive committee (Exco) meeting, Montana dished out a two-hour-long “complaint” about people who had an agenda against him and said he would expose those people, Dingiswayo said, adding that he was “really shocked” by the rant.

“It was a very strange thing,” Dingiswayo said.

In response to the irregularity in the said contract being highlighted, Montana sent an email on 18 May 2015 about officials at Prasa working against him, the commission heard.

The next day, at around 7pm, as Dingiswayo was arriving home, he was called to Montana’s office where he was fired on the spot, the witness said.

The contract would cost Prasa R24 000 per trainee for customer service training for a five-day course, which Dingiswayo felt was too expensive.

“I think it’s the most expensive customer services training in the world,” Dingiswayo said.

The commission previously heard that Dingiswayo’s boss at Prasa, Martha Ngoye, was also dismissed soon after without any reasons forthcoming from Montana.

Montana subsequently suspended the two officials, who remained on suspension until the former CEO’s departure from the agency, the commission heard on Thursday.

ALSO READ: Zondo wants names of police officials who ‘frustrated’ corruption investigations into Prasa

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