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Go after Guptas' money men, Zondo tells law-enforcement agencies

Gupta lieutenant Eric Wood should be investigated for contravening the Public Finance Management Act, says acting chief justice Raymond Zondo.
Gupta lieutenant Eric Wood should be investigated for contravening the Public Finance Management Act, says acting chief justice Raymond Zondo.
Image: FREDDY MAVUNDA

The troubles of former Transnet top brass Brian Molefe and Anoj Singh together with other alleged Gupta lieutenants have escalated as acting chief justice Raymond Zondo reiterated the recommendations of a three-year-old National Treasury forensic investigation that they should be investigated for crimes.

In the second instalment of the state capture inquiry report released on Tuesday, Zondo said he wants former Transnet group CEO Brian Molefe, CFO Anoj Singh, Gupta lieutenant Eric Wood and financial services company Regiments Capital, with its associated people, to be investigated for “illegal conduct on charges of corruption”. 

Zondo recommended that these individuals and entities should be investigated for contravening the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) by acting corruptly, and receiving and laundering R79.23m  which was paid by Transnet to Regiments on April 30 2014. 

A forensic investigation undertaken by Fundudzi Forensic Services on behalf of the National Treasury in 2018 found that Regiments had issued an invoice amounting to R79.23m to Transnet in respect of the “Risk Share — 1064 Locomotives Foreign Exchange and warranty bonds”.

Gupta associate Salim Essa should be investigated for fraud, corruption and racketeering, says acting chief justice Raymond Zondo.
Gupta associate Salim Essa should be investigated for fraud, corruption and racketeering, says acting chief justice Raymond Zondo.
Image: Supplied

It was determined that Singh approved the invoice without any agreement being concluded with Regiments. The rendering of services as financial advisers in the 1,064 locomotives contract which they had misrepresented as costing the state-owned entity R38.6bn when it in fact escalated by a further R15bn.

In 2018 Transnet approached the Johannesburg high court, suing Molefe, Singh and Regiments Capital and wanting them to pay back the R79.23m plus interest. “In addition to wanting people to go to jail we want the taxpayers' money to come back,” Transnet board chairperson Popo Molefe said at the time.

Also in the fray is Molefe’s replacement, Siyabonga Gama, whom Zondo also said should be investigated for the appointment of the audit firm Nkonki in 2017 in a contract valued at R500m and in contravention of the PFMA.

He also recommended further investigations of fraud, corruption and racketeering against Wood, Transnet’s group treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi, the inside man for Regiments, Gupta lieutenant and mastermind Salim Essa, and Trillian, a company owned by Wood in the R93.4m Club Loan contract in 2015. It was already found three years ago by the National Treasury report that Ramosebudi had made a misrepresentation by stating that Trillian had helped Transnet to negotiate the loan with Nedbank, Bank of China, Absa and Libfin. 

“The said misrepresentation resulted in Transnet making an irregular payment of R93.48m to Trillian Asset Management. The email communication is further evidence that the work in respect of the Club loan was indeed performed by Regiments and not Trillian as invoiced. We determined that Transnet paid Trillian Asset Management R93.480m in respect of the Club Loan,” said Fundudzi in its report three years ago.

Now Zondo has further recommended that law-enforcement agencies investigate Ramosebudi on a further charge of corruption and racketeering for soliciting or accepting a gratification from Wood in the form of a discount for a Range Rover Sport worth R1.3m in return for Trillian to be appointed and paid R93.4m.


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