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Zondo recommends four Gupta associates be charged for corruption

Gigaba, Singh, Molefe and Gama in hot water over Saxonwold cash bags

Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe faces criminal investigation following a recommendation by acting chief justice Raymond Zondo in State Capture part two report.
Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe faces criminal investigation following a recommendation by acting chief justice Raymond Zondo in State Capture part two report.
Image: Alon Skuy

Former minister Malusi Gigaba, ex-Transnet bosses Brian Molefe, Siyabonga Gama and Anoj Singh must be criminally investigated for corruption and racketeering in relation to payments they allegedly received from the Gupta family enterprise.

This is one of the recommendations from the state Capture commission, which found that the men lied in their various testimonies to deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

The Commission of Inquiry into state Capture has found that Gigaba, Molefe and Siyabonga Gama told falsehoods, lacked credibility or lied during their testimonies.

The second part of the report which was handed over to presidency director-general Phindile Baleni yesterday afternoon found that Molefe, Gama and Singh were the “architects of state capture” at Transnet.

The commission's chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo concluded that Gigaba, Singh, Molefe and Gama had collected bribes in bags from the Gupta compound in Saxonwold as per the testimony of three witnesses who served as their protectors or drivers at the height of state capture.

Zondo recommended that Gigaba be investigated for possible corruption and racketeering in connection with cash payments he received between 2010 and 2018 from the Gupta home in Saxonwold.

According to Zondo, former Transnet and Eskom CEO, Molefe with his colleagues, former Eskom and Transnet CFO Anoj Singh and former Transnet CEO Gama should also pursued for criminal prosecution.

“It is recommended that that law enforcement agencies conduct such further investigations as may be necessary with a view to the possible prosecution of Mr Brian Molefe, Mr Singh, Mr Gigaba, Mr Gama, Mr Pita and Mr Jiyane on charges of corruption... racketeering in relation to cash payments allegedly received by them during visits to the Gupta compound in Saxonwold in the period 2010-2018,” Zondo found.

The report said Molefe, Singh and Gama facilitated the conclusion of irregular contracts at inflated prices, variously through deviations, improper confinements and changing of tender evaluations criteria.

The findings state that all the implicated allegedly received gratifications during visits to the infamous Saxonwold. Molefe, Singh and Gama are accused of contravening Section 50 and 51 of the Public Finance Management Act. This means, they failed in their fiduciary duties as accounting officers.

Gupta ally Salim Essa is accused of racketeering and having benefited, through Regiments Asia, to the tune of R7.3bn in kickbacks which benefited not only him but the Gupta enterprise that saw R200m allegedly laundered following payments made by Transnet to purchase Optimum Coal Mines.

The report stated that “witness 2” who had testified that he transported Mr Gama to Melrose Arch in June 2017 where Gama collected cash from Mr Salim Essa, a Gupta associate.

The witness had also indicated that he and Gama counted the cash which amounted to around R1m from which Gama gave him R50 000 while they were in Bryanston at the home of Gama’s girlfriend.

Though Gama had disputed the testimony, Zondo accepted the evidence as Google Maps had placed the witness at the home of Gama’s girlfriend between 10h37pm and 01h57am the next morning.

Gigaba was found to have among others lied during a 2019 probe by Fundudzi Forensic Services, which was contracted by the National Treasury to probe irregularities at Transnet and state power utility Eskom, looks into the procurement process when he stated that he had no relationship with the Gupta family.

The report also found that Gigaba had appointed a Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma to the Transnet board as the chair of the influential Acquisitions and Disposals Committee, where the report stated that he enjoyed “a free reign”.

Gigaba had also unsuccessfully tried to appoint Sharma as the chair of the Transnet board. Gigaba did not respond to text and Whatsapp messages from Sowetan yesterday.

Singh, then CEO Brian Molefe and group engineering head Thamsanqa Jiyane were found to have not acted in the best interest of the company in the awarding of locomotive contracts in 2014.

The trio involved in the procurement process that saw Transnet buy 100 locomotives at a price of R4.8bn an increase of R969m from the original price.

Prices were negotiated at R28.8m per locomotive but hedging costs, set up costs ended-up pushing the price to R41m per locomotive. These are the costs which were given to the board for approval.

Singh had testified that the board had delegated power to Molefe to conclude procurement.

“The prudence is such an approach in a transaction of this magnitude was questionable,” the commission said.

The commission found that the inflation of the base price advanced money laundering agenda in that  it provided excess funds to finance kickbacks to the Gupta enterprise.

The commission said further investigations need to be done to determine if the board of Transnet contravened Section 50 and 51 of the PFMA  acting grossly negligently.

About R925m was paid JJT Trading and only 15% was retained by JTT and the remaining 85% paid to a Gupta controlled enterprise, according to the report.

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