Zondo instructs law enforcers to investigate Gigaba and former Eskom and Transnet bosses
State capture commission chair, acting chief justice Raymond Zondo, has instructed law- enforcement agencies to investigate and possibly charge former Transnet executives and a former minister with corruption and racketeering.
The executives include the SOE’s two former group CEOs, Brian Molefe and Siyabonga Gama, former finance heads at Transnet Anoj Singh and Garry Pita, as well as erstwhile Transnet engineering chief Thamsanqa Jiyane.
The five, the commission found, were central in enabling the Gupta family looting enterprise at Transnet during the Zuma years, covered politically by minister Malusi Gigaba who also allegedly benefited financially from the Gupta criminal enterprise.
These executives allegedly accepted cash payments and gratification from the Guptas in the period between 2010 and 2018, according to the Zondo report part 2 released on Tuesday.
According to Zondo, state capture at Transnet was an elaborate scheme that involved securing corrupt influence and control over decision-making. This included the appointment of key Gupta associates such as Molefe and Singh into positions of power to sway Transnet business bias towards entities linked to the family.
The period in question also involved an abnormal increase in Transnet’s reliance on consultancy and advisory services, most of the work of which went to Gupta-linked companies including Regiments and Trillian.
The appointment of executives sympathetic to and part of the Gupta criminal enterprise, the report adds, is further affirmed by how there was a push for Gama to be group CEO despite facing serious allegations of misconduct at the time.
Furthermore, Zondo found, it was reasonable to conclude that the Gupta family knew Molefe would be appointed to the position of Transnet boss when their New Age newspaper called it in advance.
Zondo said despite denials by Molefe, Singh and Gama that they were involved in state capture, evidence showed that they in fact were involved.
This is because they facilitated the conclusion of irregular contracts at inflated prices, through deviations and improper confinements to advantage companies linked to the Guptas' “extensive money-laundering scheme”.
With political cover from then-president Jacob Zuma and minister Gigaba, Zondo found, it was open season for Molefe, Gama and Singh in pushing the state capture agenda. And they all allegedly personally benefited for their facilitation of corruption and money-laundering, the report found.
Gama did not only benefit through alleged cash payments from the Guptas but further benefited from Transnet coffers when the company paid to him legal costs worth more than R1m that he owed to Transnet.
“The costs payment were indefensible and significantly enriched Mr Gama,” reads the report.
The report found that Singh was a particularly unreliable witness who sought to underplay his close ties with Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa, against evidence to the contrary by Gama and Singh’s own personal assistant. In addition, Singh had stated that he visited the Gupta compound for “religious and cultural events only”, when his driver had a different version.
According to the driver, who also acted as close protector for Singh, he drove his boss to the Gupta compound more than 10 times. On such occasions, Singh would make a stop at Knox Vaults to allegedly deposit cash from the Gupta family.
Furthermore, Singh’s alleged girlfriend, Selina Naik, who worked at Transnet, was gifted with a handsome job at Gupta-owned Sahara Computers, reporting to CEO Ashu Chalwa and enjoying direct interactions with the Gupta brothers, the report states.
“Three witnesses testified to the commission, essentially to the effect that Mr Molefe, Mr Singh, Mr Gama and Mr Gigaba were recipients of cash bribes from the Gupta enterprise. All three were drivers and close protection officers to these officials,” the report states.
“It is recommended that law-enforcement agencies conduct such further investigations as may be necessary with a view to the possible prosecution of Mr Molefe, Mr Singh, Mr Gigaba, Mr Gama, Mr Pita and Mr Jiyane on charges of corruption and racketeering in relation to cash payments allegedly received by them during visits to the Gupta compound during the period of 2010-2018.”
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