Transnet wasted billions on trains, probe finds

Werksmans recommended that a judicial inquiry conduct further investigations, that Transnet take immediate steps to recover misspent funds and discipline those responsible and that the police’s Hawks investigative unit and the National Intelligence Agency conduct their own probes.

While Transnet provided some requested documentation to Werksmans, it didn’t volunteer information, which may have implied that evidence was “deliberately withheld or sanitized,” the firm said. It was unable to interview key witnesses including Anoj Singh, Transnet’s former chief financial officer, Niven Reddy from Regiments Capital, which provided financial advice on the deal, and Salim Essa, who owned a company alleged to have received kickbacks from a supplier.

Unjustifiable Fee

A R100-million fee paid to Regiments in 2014 appeared to be unjustifiable, and raised concerns about whether Singh and former Transnet Chief Executive Office Brian Molefe had conducted themselves properly in approving it, Werksmans said. Siyabonga Gama replaced Molefe as CEO in 2015.

Singh, Molefe, Reddy, Essa and Regiments have all denied wrongdoing.

Transnet’s board has been replaced since Cyril Ramaphosa took over as president in February from Jacob Zuma, whose almost nine-year tender was marred by scandal and whose allies have been accused of stealing billions of rand from state companies. A judicial commission of inquiry, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, is investigating the alleged looting.

Popo Molefe, Transnet’s new chairman, said the company’s old board had ordered a further investigation by another law firm because they were apparently unsatisfied with some aspects of the Werksmans report.

“The second report has been handed to me and I am yet to go through it with the directors and apply ourselves before making any decisions,” Molefe said by phone Thursday. “All I can say right now is that the board of directors is getting all the facts and will at the appropriate time act appropriately.”

-Bloomberg


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