Transnet investigations into procurement of locomotives near completion

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Transnet says a joint investigation with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to review and set aside contracts for the procurement of more than 1 000 locomotives is in its final stages.

The rail company says the four contracts were irregular and tainted by corruption. It says the initial estimated cost of R38.6 billion escalated to R54 billion.

Transnet top executives and the Board have briefed Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on their annual report, SIU investigations, deviations, and expansions.

They revealed a total of R114.3 billion in irregular expenditure accumulated over several financial years.

Members of the committee expressed satisfaction with how things are going, but also want Transnet management to move with speed in tackling corruption.

“We go back, therefore, to reflect on the questions that have been raised and management will respond adequately to those questions. It is not an easy thing, to deal with these questions but we want to assure you, chair, that we’ve got no interest in trying to cover up anything like people who are tough with us. We have management which is transparent,” says Board Chairperson, Popo Molefe.

Transnet’s executives have told Scopa that they are trying to recover the R220 million loan given to SA Express in 2017. The rail company says the loan was requested by former Public Enterprises Minister, Lynn Brown and was approved by a previous board.

SA Express was placed under business rescue early last year.

Chief Legal Officer, Sandra Coetzee, says they are, however, not optimistic about the prospects of success.

“We have lodged our claim, but as a related party, we are not very optimistic as to what the net result of that claim would be. In other words, how much are we going to be able to recover but our claim has been registered with the liquidators and we continue to enforce that claim.”

Earlier on Tuesday, former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe, insisted that Gupta-linked consulting Firm, Regiment Capital, saved Transnet R2.8 billion for a deal that cost R78 million.

In 2019, the Commission also heard from other witnesses how Regiment Capital benefitted unduly from the deal.

Molefe was appearing before the Commission of Inquiry Into State Capture, in Johannesburg, this week. He said because Regiment saved Transnet billions, they agreed to change the remuneration model for the deal.

“They saved us R2.8 billion at Transnet and it was then recommended that they be paid R78 million. And the memo says it is not possible to pay them the R78 million because the original remuneration model does not allow it. I looked at the situation and said R2.8 billion is not bad for 78 million and I approved it.”

In the video below, Molefe continues with Transnet related evidence: