Transnet: OUTA is calling the latest round of arrests “better late than never”

OUTA chief investigator on state capture Rudie Heyneke reacts to the arrests of former Transnet and Gupta-linked Regiments executives charged with contravention of the PFMA, fraud, corruption and money laundering. Former Transnet CEO Brian Molefe and the parastatal’s former finance head Anoj Singh were joined in the dock by Regiments Capital executives Litha Nyhonyha and Niven Pillay. The Hawks effected their arrests on Monday morning in relation to a R93m Transnet corruption matter in which former Transnet group chief executive Siyabonga Gama, former acting group CFO Garry Pita, former group treasurer Phetolo Ramosebudi, Regiments shareholder Eric Wood, Trillian Asset Management director Daniel Roy, and Albatime’s Kuben Moodley, are all co-accused. OUTA is calling the latest round of arrests “better late than never”.

Rudie Heyneke’s reaction to the arrests

The rest of South Africa should be very pleased about this arrest today.This is what we’ve all been calling for, to see high-profile people in the dock. So, yes, let’s hope that the trial will start  as soon as possible. 

On where Brian Molefe features in the Transnet matter

Brian Molefe was the group CEO of Transnet, appointed early in 2011 until 2015 when he was moved to Eskom. Anoj Singh has been with Transnet for quite some time before that, but he got promoted to the position of chief financial officer and he followed Brian to Eskom later on in 2015.  

On how the 1064 locomotives deal transpired

Transnet identified the need for a new locomotive fleet, diesel locomotives, as well as electric locomotives. They really needed a new fleet because the locomotives in the fleet were, you know, about 50 years old. So then they started to put out these tenders and at the end of the day, the 1064 locomotives, as we know them, were acquisitions given to four different service providers or four different OEMs. Two of them, the biggest ones, went to China, South Rail and China North Rail that later became CRC. And it is for these kickbacks especially, that the people were before court today; not so much over the acquisition of the locomotives but the financing thereof. That’s why they were in court today.

On the four men in the dock being added to the 93m Transnet corruption case

The previous cases, with the six accused, were for, you know, the club loan. Originally, Transnet applied for a loan and got the facility from the China Development Bank of $2.5 billion. Then they decided only to do a draw down of $1.5 billion. And the rest, the balance, the $1 billion, they sourced from local banks. That was in the amount of between 12 and 15 billion rand. And that’s what people and the club earned. And for that club loan, Trillian got involved. That was after the breakaway from Regiments. Trillium got involved and they were classified as the so-called lead arranger of that second club loan loan facility. And for that they got 93 million rand. And some of that also found its way back to the Guptas’ companies. But before that, like I said, the $1.5 billion loan facility from the China Development Bank, the lead arranger there was Regiments. Regiments got 189 million rand as a kickback order for six of the fleet. And as you said, Kuben Moodley also received a 3% kickback on that 5.6 million. That hundred and 41, the balance of it was distributed to several companies. Salim Essa got about 20 million rand of that and a big chunk of that ended up with Sahara computers.  

On if he thinks the case can potentially go to trial in October

I do foresee that there will be more arrests. I do believe that Salim Essa, as a recipient of some of these funds as well, as Atul Gupta in his capacity as a director of Sahara Computers at the time, should also be arrested and charged in this case. So that may result in a further postponement or two. But I think that the investigations – and I’ve spoken to some of the investigators on the matter – I think the investigation itself is done. They don’t need a lot more to add, you know, to be able to give out the charge sheet to the defence attorneys. 

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