State capture inquiry not getting into mudslinging contest with Lucky Montana

Mawande AmaShabalala Political journalist
Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana continues to publicly attack the state capture inquiry, accusing it of bias. File photo
Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana continues to publicly attack the state capture inquiry, accusing it of bias. File photo
Image: Arnold Pronto/Business Day

The state capture inquiry on Tuesday said it was not interested in engaging in a public mudslinging contest with former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) chief executive Lucky Montana.

This comes after Montana accused the inquiry of “blocking” his evidence by cancelling his oral testimony, scheduled for this week, and refusing to accept his bundle of evidence.

Montana has been on a full-on offensive against the inquiry since Sunday, when he released a public statement making several allegations against the inquiry chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

His statement was followed by tweets taking aim at the inquiry.

Inquiry spokesperson Rev Mbuyiselo Stemela on Tuesday told TimesLIVE it was not interested in engaging with Montana publicly.

Stemela confirmed the inquiry's secretary, Prof Itumeleng Mosala, had recently addressed a communique to Montana. However, since it was Montana who had brought the issue into the public domain, said Stemela, the inquiry was not going to descend into that arena as it treated its communication with witnesses as confidential.

“The commission confirms the secretary has written to Mr Montana, and the answers to your questions are in the letter sent to him,” said Stemela.

“The commission does not discuss communication between the commission and its witnesses. You may contact Mr Montana directly as he is the one who shared the information with the media.”

Montana accused the inquiry of cancelling his “scheduled” oral testimony because he was going to implicate the inquiry and its “preferred” witnesses.

He also charged that his 31-strong bundle of documents the inquiry rejected were properly marked and numbered, despite the inquiry’s claim to the contrary.

Even if his numbering and marking was incorrect, Montana said, the inquiry should have given him time to correct it and provide him with assistance in that regard.

“I have consistently said the commission is biased, is pursuing a predetermined agenda and targeting particular individuals,” said Montana.

“I am one of those people who are targeted and every attempt is made to frustrate me in telling my story.

“How a technical point like marking and numbering is elevated to the level where the scheduled date for my appearance is changed can only point to the conclusion that the commission is trying to curtail my evidence and is not trying to find the truth.”

But Montana admitted in his Twitter rant that the "commission made a mistake by giving me the first week of January 2021 for my testimony".

He said he will not publish the letter the inquiry wrote to him because “if the commission is of the view I misled the public, they should release their letter(s) and/or issue a statement”.

Montana stands accused of bringing Prasa to its knees during his time at the helm of the state-owned company. He has denied this in public, but is yet to do so under oath at the inquiry. 

Meanwhile, former Eskom chief executive Matshela Koko has accused the inquiry of refusing to investigate alleged looting in the Kusile and Medupi power stations projects.

“The state capture commission investigators and its legal team are following people, not the evidence. They know who they are targeting. Medupi and Kusile corruption is not of interest because it doesn't have my fingerprint or that of former president [Jacob] Zuma or [former Eskom CEO] Brian Molefe," said Koko.

TimesLIVE

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